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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    6,371
    And another non-secret. But one that many applicants, even successful ones, try to avoid looking at. Mobility. Nothing is more obvious if you look at the jurisdiction of a Federal agency, nothing creates more issues. If you are applying to be an 1811 you are agreeing to move at the need of the agency. Implicit in that is that mobility is typically part of every promotion scheme. Some may give you a mobility agreement up front. Others not. Doesn't matter; its in the fine print and easily found on any map.

    And for the newly hired, forget about "hardship" consideration. Typical hardship policies exclude any situation that exists or is created by taking the job. You are expected to decide about these things in either accepting or declining selection.

    You may never be moved; you may never seek promotion; most people around you may never have been moved. Doesn't matter, either, when the orders come through with your name on them the expectation is you are going. This may be the only part of it where I have gotten less mellow with time. The recent graduate from training who's first question is how they apply for a transfer back home, I would probably dump right there in the probationary period. The veteran who says their special status should mean they get promoted in place; I would volunteer for the next load of needs of the agency transfers.

    Far better if you are an applicant to realize that the Feds can move you very far; you want to consider the size of the State in applying to a State agency; and that if you have almost no vagabond in you, then you want to find your bliss in local law enforcement.

    I'm fairly convinced that if you probe into disgruntlement, especially folks who are talking loudly outside the box you will find a mobility issue in there at least 70% of the time. Conservatively. Like it's what? A big surprise? Too many folks play a kind of Russian roulette with this, only to find there is a live round in the chamber.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 01-28-2014 at 09:54.
    ret.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Behind a desk, crying
    Posts
    2,563
    Dear 1811 Candidate,

    Not only should you heed each and every bit of advice given above, you should print it out and keep it as an instant reminder. In addition to the above, you may also want to print and save the "Becoming an 1811" thread. http://www.911jobforums.com/f58/beco...estions-65372/

    As has been stated most eloquently by the forums members is, the secret to getting the spot you covet oh so much, is there is no secret. Unless of course, you consider good old fashioned American common sense as a secret. Then again, common sense is not as common as we'd like to believe.

    If BIG may add anything to this thread, let it be, LEARN TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS and if you're all about you, LEARN TO BE A TEAM PLAYER.

    EXAMPLES:

    At one point in his career BIG SEXY had an luxurious cubicle, (BIG calls it luxurious, because it had a door & higher than average walls), next to the HSI recruiter. On more than one occasion BIG has pulled a resume off of the printer from an enthusiastic young HSI hopeful. Problem was, the recruiter instructed said HSI hopeful to email the recruiter their resume and NOT fax it. On more than one occasion said young HSI hopeful would get a cal from BIG SEXY advising them they may want to follow direction and email their resume to the recruiter. Why, because at this moment their beautifully written document detailing their life experience is about to be filed in the round filing cabinet, which gets emptied every day and their HSI career aspirations would never see the light of day.

    If the recruiter tells you to email something, you email it. Don't fax it. Don't mail it. Don't show up with it in person, unless, you've been instructed to do so. LEARN TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.

    For a large part your case is your case. But, you can't make your case, without the assistance of others. In BIG's current location duty days have turned into team sports. The whole group gets involved, because one agent can not do everything which is required of them alone, without either group assistance or a mobile cloning device. If you don't want or like to help others, BIG is sure your attitude will be gladly reciprocated by your colleagues when you need them most.

    Team work wins championships, not individual effort.

    Don't be that rookie agent with a bad reputation, because if you are, your team/group mates will make it known this isn't the career for you.
    It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. - Niccolo Machiavelli

    Most people respect the badge, everybody respects the gun.

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. - Colonel Jessup

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    In the office, questioning my life choices
    Posts
    485
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Sexy View Post

    For a large part your case is your case. But, you can't make your case, without the assistance of others. In BIG's current location duty days have turned into team sports. The whole group gets involved, because one agent can not do everything which is required of them alone, without either group assistance or a mobile cloning device. If you don't want or like to help others, BIG is sure your attitude will be gladly reciprocated by your colleagues when you need them most.
    Also true in my part of the world. We have 8 street agents and 1 supervisor in my group. How that translates is that a MINIMUM of 1 full day a week will be dedicated to someone else's case, whether that's covering a deal, doing a surveillance, or helping them run down leads. As the case agent, all the ops plans, acquisition of buy money, handling of the CI, and other administrative crap will be on you, but you're going to need a whole bunch of help if you ever hope to make something bigger than a 1 defendant case.

    Everyone has life things and no one is expected to make every deal. But if you're the guy always bitching about the drug deal after 5pm, rest assured help will be scarce when you need it. You miss every one of my deals? No, I won't go check that address that's on my way home. Just how things go. Bottom line: be a team player. Most agents, including my boss, keep an informal mental tally of "team player-ness."

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    6,371
    I think we are in a good place here to close the sticky and move our discussions to the agency threads or other threads. As Big Sexy notes we have a Becoming an 1811 Questions thread going now and there will be others. If things change or something needs to be added, any moderator can reopen it or amend it.

    Next step for folks who go through this is to look at the threads in this forum such as Federal Questions and Drugs and Law Enforcement. The search feature here is your friend. I recommend you use the advanced search function. You can search posts, set a time frame and if you see someone who has posted on the topic in a way that helps you, you can look for specific posts on the topic by that member.

    Some useful terms to search are "federal requirements", "mobility", "resume", "education", and "more competitive". If you are interested in general guidelines and the rules, you can go to US Office of Personnel Management and use their search tool.

    Big Sexy's post reminds me again of the old grade school exercise where the teacher passes out a pop-quiz about following instructions. First thing it says is "Read all directions before answering any questions." First item is to write your name at the top of the paper. Then on and on until about the middle, where the instruction is to call out "I am the best at following directions." The last one is "only do item 1. Ignore all other questions and directions." There is a case to be made that this should be given to all applicants.

    Good luck to all.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 09-24-2012 at 14:31.
    ret.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    6,371
    Given a slew of recent posts, I think it might be helpful to add some things about being more competitive. There is certainly no one thread that answers all questions, which is good for business around here, but in addition to what has already been posted the following may be helpful.

    The hiring process is certainly not a secret, but understanding how it works may not be clear particularly since it is very different from the usual corporate or business method. The first thing to know going in is that you will never be alone or at the top of the list from the beginning. Agencies do not process in the order received by and large. They accumulate applicants, usually at a rate similar to the number of attendees at a Rolling Stones arena concert. When they do look at applications they do not put them in piles according to wonderfulness, they review them for meeting the basic qualifications. Two piles, yes and no. Yes moves on progressively through written tests, PT tests, interviews, polys, medicals and BI's according to the agency procedures. Someone may note a particular thing about this or that being interesting, but they are not interested in individuals until they have been laundered through the process.

    Being more competitive is not what is on your resume at this point but how well you have prepared for and execute these steps. This leads to a unique personal calculus that no one here can help you with, which is when to apply. A very mature and focused candidate who meets the minimum requirements might well succeed from the minimum qualifications. That's not rare, but it is not typical. Most folks who get hired have some combination of education (most at the baccalaureate level, but over time more and more with some post-grad), and experience, military, other LE, work or some of each. The personal calculus involves assessing how confident and prepared you are to tackle the steps in the process a lot more than can you puff up the resume.

    Take a look at the sticky "How to Answer Those Tricky Interview and/or Oral Board Questions" in Announcements and FAQs. If you have a power resume and go deer in the headlights on those questions, you are probably not ready. Simply put, once your resume is somewhat better than the minimum, you both qualify and have some tools to tackle the process well. But the competition is in the process not in your resume.

    Maybe I misunderstand, but it seems to me questions like "Am I competitive?" or "How can I become more competitive?" really boil down to "Am I ready?" Ready is when you have examined in detail what the process consists of and have a level of confidence that you are ready to proceed successfully. Then you just need to go for it; and if unsuccessful assess your weaknesses and focus on improvement. To circle back to the beginning of this thread, there is a point where more education, more experience, more extras are a diminishing return on your investment. You qualify for consideration already. Now begins the effort to be more competitive. Working out, test prep, interview prep, interview prep, interview prep. That is where the returns will be.

    An additional note about being ready. For the most part you will be bound to the resume you submit. It is not a rolling process where you can add additional accomplishments once you have applied. There may be some exceptions that are stated, such as applying within X months of receiving a degree; but they will be stated up front. If you are a year away from a CPA or law degree, you would be better waiting to get it since it is usually unlikely that you will get to add it.

    And one more. Are you ready for the risk? Agencies often only give the hint of asking you whether you want to be contacted before they talk to your current employer, presuming that adults understand that being found out looking for another job may not go all that well with their current one. If you are in the military or public service you may not be let go, but I wouldn't count on that pending promotion opportunity or desirable reassignment. In the private sector you may in fact be let go. Don't count on the agency delivering on contacting you first and recognize that once somebody knows, everybody will. My advice is to tell your supervisor once you know a BI is beginning, but also understand that being ready to apply may well mean moving on to something else even if you are ultimately unsuccessful with your application to Federal LE.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 01-23-2014 at 10:24.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    6,371
    Given some recent posts in agency threads, I thought it might be helpful to add a different look at the hiring process. Again no secret, but maybe an interpretation based on experience.

    One way we can look at the hiring process is that it has 3 stages, Qualification, Competition and Selection. The lines are not always perfectly clear and there is some overlap, but in general this division will work.

    Qualification: As noted in an earlier post, we get a lot of crystal ball type questions about whether studying this or that, or doing this or that will make someone "more competitive." At the outset I think it is better to ask a simpler question and one to which the answer is reasonably available, "Do I qualify for consideration?" The answer is generally on the agency website and is always in the job description/vacancy announcement - at least the minimum qualifications to have an application accepted and to enter the process. Also available are the disqualifiers, things like criminal history, drug use, medical standards, etc. If you meet the qualifications you may apply with an excellent chance you will get into the process with the agency.

    The caveat here is to understand that average successful applicant is in their mid to late 20's, and has more than minimal qualifications. They may have advanced degrees, language skills, military, law enforcement and/or professional experience. None of that may be necessary to minimally qualify, if you do minimally qualify you are welcome to apply, but maybe you could find your way into an internship (see the link on USAjobs for Students and Recent Graduates) or talk to your placement office if you are a student or adjust your plan to add to your qualifications.

    Again, for most agencies, you are not only qualifying for the process but for an entry level grade, so you may want to consider whether you can bump that up.

    However, all we are really doing is meeting stated qualifications and assessing what successful applicants generally look like in terms of the next stages. Two things to consider, some folks get too focused on the perfect resume, we talked about that earlier in the thread. Others neglect the benefit of actually taking a ranging shot. You can apply if qualified and there is a benefit from the experience of a process even if unsuccessful the first time.

    Competition: Having qualified, everything that comes next is competition. Sometimes the competition is only passing the next step, for example pass the written test, pass the PT. However, sometimes the competition is fully complete the SF-86, "Questionnaire for National Security Questions" accurately. Mistakes and omissions are deadly. Some of what happens in the competition may go back to qualifications, but view timeliness, thoroughness and preparation as essential elements. No set of perfect credentials for qualification will carry an applicant past a poor competitive performance.


    Selection: Most folks who qualify and compete okay will not be hired. It's a fact of life. In selection, the agency applies its discretion, looking at the qualifications and competitive performance of applicants against one another. Here is where the more than minimal qualification has relevance. Here is where the great interview passes the good one. Agencies work hard at this. They have to. Many applicants believe there are significant differences; selecting officials know it often comes down to minor differentiations. Did you sign a mobility agreement and then list only neighboring offices to where you currently live? That can make a difference. Are you just inside of the agency drug policy? Other applicants in your selection group may have been drug free. Very much some luck of the draw involved here.

    In general, selection will work backward through the previous steps. First cut will be how well the applicant competed and if that doesn't create a decision point, then back to the qualifications such as experience or plusses one candidate has over others.

    Not that any of this has not been covered before, but I thought organizing it in a little different way might clarify some issues.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 09-15-2014 at 12:52.
    ret.


 

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