Follow the Crowd

Today is not a manicure-only day in Los Angeles. But even with the sun shining a bit, today’s Dice career fair here near LAX is a little slow.
 
Adam Felix, who helps put on these fairs for Dice’s fair division, says that yesterday’s successful Anaheim (Orange County) fair was far bigger in both number of employers as well as candidates, though he doesn’t know why and says it’s often impossible to pinpoint, even having attended scores of these events.
 
I and Ellen Roter, a Northrop recruiter, couldn’t help but notice the long Boeing line dwarfing her line. “I’m a little troubled by it,” she says. Still, we both realized that it’s partly because Boeing had only one person manning its booth.
 
Speaking of manning: today’s crowd of engineers and IT professionals is as male as a happy hour at Hooters.
 
Roter’s company, Northrop, is still working on centralizing its recruiting using one technology system (Vurv) — as you saw in the February 2006 Journal. She’s excited about the Vurv project, saying “the market’s getting more competitive … we can’t find enough people” and it’s important that if someone applies to a job in one Northrop division, the company lets them know there’s a job open in another.
 
She’s not all that enthused about some of the candidates coming through today; Roter was expecting more with clearances. “A lot of people don’t have U.S. citizenships, let alone clearances. … 

But if I come out with two hires, it’s worth it for me to be here.”

She notes that the lack of citizenship doesn’t necessarily disqualify someone for a job, of course.

 
Her toughest jobs to fill right now: Java programmer; systems engineer/integrator; and hardware engineer.
 
General Atomics, a company involved in the Predator aircraft, is here looking for everything from writers to engineers to accountants in San Diego, as well as mechanics, technicians, a recruiter, and others in Palmdale, California.
 
General Atomics recruiter Jason Asp tells me that electronic technicians and government-contract writers are among his toughest jobs to fill. One job candidate, who works at Raytheon now, walks by the General Atomics booth. He doesn’t seem too unhappy at Raytheon, but believes that he could get laid off.
 
Simulogix also draws a long line. I ask a candidate what the company does. “Do you want an honest answer?” he says to me. Yes, I do, I tell him. He responds: “I have no idea.”
 
I go to a different part of the line, and ask another candidate: “Why Simulogix?”
 
“To tell you truth,” this other candidate says. “I don’t know who they are. I’m just following the crowd.” 
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