December 08, 2000, 4:07 PM — WHEN DICK MASON, program manager at Unisys U.S. Federal Government Group, in
Reston, Va., has a project to bid on, he begins the process by tapping in to an unusual
source. He calls Natasha Schebella, his company's ace in-house technical recruiter.
"She's the first person who comes on board when I start putting a proposal
together," says Mason, who in the last six months has hired Oracle programmers, a Unix
systems administrator, software engineers and programmers, and Windows NT desktop-
Schebella will analyze a potential project for staffing issues and advise whether
staffing is both feasible and cost-effective. "When I've got a big bid coming up, I
turn to her and the recruiting department to get the program off the ground," Mason
Last year, Mason was reviewing a potential contract in Denver, a locale where
Unisys Federal hadn't worked previously. (Unisys declined to give contract details.)
Mason wanted to make a bid for the work but saw a hurdle: He would need to put together
a local team of 12 or 13 software and network engineers in only 10 days.
"I knew making this contract materialize was going to be extremely difficult,
basically because we had no existing database of potential candidates in Denver," Mason
recalls. "On top of that, [Schebella] was working from a remote location."
Mason had seen Schebella pull a recruiting rabbit out of a hat before. The
recruiter once assembled a technical team in Kansas in a mere 72 hours, conducting an
impromptu recruitment open house and finding candidates literally overnight.
For the Denver contract, Schebella made a series of cold calls, contacting local IT
workers via a network culled from earlier hires and previously qualified job applicants
whose résumés and contact information she saves. Her effort paid off.
"Natasha saved our bacon in Denver, as she does every time," Mason says. "If it
wasn't for her ability to find truly qualified people at a minute's notice, there would
be a large number of bids that we couldn't be part of at all."
Technical recruiters become players
Organizations are recognizing IT recruiters' influence and importance to the bottom
line, says Marjorie Bynum, vice president, workforce development at Information
Technology Association of America (ITAA), in Arlington, Va.
"Technical recruiters are becoming more integrated into IT projects. They are
taking on more of a role than just identifying the right person to hire. They are,
after all, pipelines to the IT talent as well as pipelines to the company they work
for," Bynum says.