Wednesday, August 12, 2009

One More Thought About Those Business Analysts

In the previous post, I note that our client has altered an RFP so that we only have to submit one Business Analyst instead of four. I'm still confident we can win this bid, and it should mean that we will be able to secure contracts for all four BAs, so (fingers crossed) despite all the excess work, it should all be worth it in the end.

One thing I should mention is that all of our consultants have been fantastic throughout the proposal development phase. I bemoan all the time I lost working on resumes and grids that are no longer necessary, but I do not want to discount the amount of time that they put into this as well. If my time has been wasted, theirs certainly has been, too.

In order to effectively respond to government RFP's, there often needs to be a lot of back-and-forth between the recruiter and the candidate. They're the SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) when it comes to both the professional requirements and their work history. So, if I want to build the best proposal I can, I have to get this information from them. With each of the candidates with whom we were working, we'd trade emails and phone calls to hammer out all the little details to make sure that all the requirements were covered. Each consultant probably did two or three drafts of their resume, as well as little tweaking here and there.

One consultant in particular was really great about this. He sent us a resume reflecting the needs of our client. Unfortunately, it was not satisfactory. I looked through it, and I could tell that he had done (or probably had done) all the things the client was asking for, but it wasn't really spelled out clearly and succinctly in the resume. So I got worried - we didn't have anyone else to present, but this resume would get disqualified if we sent it to the client.

So at about 9:30 Friday morning, I left him a message saying there was a lot of work to be done. He called me back about 20 minutes later, and by 10:30 we were sitting in our conference room going through each requirement project-by-project, taking notes and writing adequate descriptions. For a lot of them, I would have to probe him for more information (what is obvious to the SME is not always obvious to the recruiter or, more importantly, the client). We were both still working on the resume yesterday when the amendment from the client came in.

There are a lot of candidates who would not go through such an arduous process. Often, understandably so. Consultants will have requests to complete these RFPs all the time, and most won't result in winning a contract. Some recruiting firms will ask consultants to fill out the RFP, make the submission, win the contract, then decide to sub-contract to another consultant who won't ask for as much money. If I were constantly going through this sort of thing, I'd probably be reluctant to give a recruiter too much of my valuable time.

Unfortunately, this time commitment is necessary. Things are getting really competitive out there, and clients can be extremely picky about the people they hire. Especially when dealing with government RFPs, we (recruiters) have to be meticulous when crafting proposals; one seemingly minor detail not quite covered can mean the difference between winning and losing the bid.

(At this point, I could go on a rant about why it is so important for recruiters to treat consultants with respect, lest we never be able to properly complete a proposal, but that's not my point right now.)

The bottom line is this: we've been working with four great consultants. They're not just great candidates (which they are), they're also great partners in developing a proposal. They've done a h*ll of a lot of work on this, and I hope that I can reward them all with contracts in the near future.

In the meantime, I can offer them my sincere gratitude.

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