Sometimes You Can Make a Difference

As recruiting goes generally days are spent chasing candidates to fill openings and when lucky, we receive a fee for a placement. Seldom does a recruiter talk about the work they do without making a statement about how good it feels to make a difference in another person’s life. It is true, when an offer is made and a candidate is selected for a new job, this is a life changing experience and it feels great. There are not a lot of differentiators though, between staffing/recruiting companies beyond specialties and regions served.

Bridge Resourcing Solutions was selected as a participant in the Cisco SRS Program and included in Cisco’s Partner Talent Portal as a provider of resources to the Cisco Channel Partners. The reasons Bridge was selected to participate in this program are because Bridge provides to Cisco and their Partners the next evolution of ethical, professional, intelligent, creative and value focused resourcing solutions. With this in mind it is unusual to find a company with so much opportunity to generate revenue interested in getting involved in activities that do not. This past week saw the culmination of an international effort to help a Cisco Engineer under extremely difficult circumstances. We would like to share this story with you.

Back in October of 2007 one of our staff received the following email;

“Good day, I saw your article about how to improve job searching for Cisco professionals, it is so interesting but living the role of finding a real job is so hard, I have my CCSP certification also some other vendor certifications some for CompTIA and others for Siemens, I worked in the IT field for 5-6 years but for the bad circumstances I had to leave my homeland (Iraq), I tried every possible way (I think) to have a job in my specialty, but always I fail, 90% of the rejection I receive from companies is that because I am Iraqi, what can I do to have a job, I spent about a year looking for a job in middle east (many countries I searched in) but no response, by the way I can’t search in the united states or Europe because they do not permit Visa’s for iraqi’s, what can I do please I need your advice.”

We began a dialogue with this engineer Karam, to see if there was some way to help him. What followed was a long journey with frequent communications going back and forth between our employee, Eman and this engineer often times just to keep his spirits up. While getting to know each other they discovered that he had a wife and family and they were Christians. This created its own problem in Iraq for them, even before the war as we soon learned. Christians in Iraq are mostly of Assyrian decent and one of the oldest Christian groups on the planet, we seldom hear about their plight. In Iraq, Christians under the reign of Saddam Hussein were allowed to work and earn a living, although they were frequent victims of violent attacks. After the war began the Iraqi Christian population began to be systematically attacked and forced out of their homes and off of their land. Because of this violence, many Iraqi Christians joined the waves of refugees exiting the country to protect themselves from the war and the violence from their own countrymen.

His words: “Thanks for your reply, first of all I was born in Baghdad in 1979, finished my study and obtained my B.Sc in computer science and information systems from the university of technology in Baghdad in the year 2001, after graduating I started my first job as a helpdesk in one of the computer centers in Baghdad I started to move from one place to work to another until I had my own computer center that delivers network solutions and hardware maintenance also I started to work on Cisco devices (routers & switches) selling, installing , and configuring, after the war in 2003 job opportunities started to increase and I was looking for a job with a fixed income (salary), you know that the situation directly after the war was not so bad in Iraq , not like now (it starts to get worst in 2004 till now), I found a job with a company (health care field) in Baghdad in 2004 which offered me a job as a network administrator (little amount of money but a lot of hand on labs for me to work ), I began my first full time job and I started to improve my self with more real life experience and working on to get my CCNA and security + certs , life seems good and moving toward a good future but the truth is not, because things start to get worst due to the security crisis in my country many of the private companies started to move there works to other contries, I lost my job in January 2007 because the company I worked for closed, and I tried to find another job but the opportunities for finding a job was so small, it seems to be so hard to find a job now days in Iraq because about 90% of the companies left the country due to the bad circumstances , I had to leave Iraq ( you know , no electricity, no security, no good running water to drink, no services at all) I had to leave to Lebanon, in order to stay here in Lebanon and have a residence permit I am not allowed to work in Lebanon, I spent my time reading and working on some labs I rent , preparing to have my CCSP, I finished my last exam two months a go hoping this cert will help me to find a job or increase my opportunities in finding one, I started to send my CV to many Recruitment agencies (Dubai, Bahrain, Jordan , etc..) but no response, also I tried to get a schengen visa to search a job in Europe but the embassies for many European countries do not give Visa to Iraqis ( I have to be invited by a company in Europe to obtain the Visa), I applied my CV on some job hunters sites on the internet to find a job in any place but I failed also, for Canada I applied to the immigration process a year ago but I have to wait for 5-6 years till I can have a meeting appointment in the Canadian embassy ( too much immigration applications from all over the world, a lot of load on them), I tried every possible way but I could not make it to find a job in the Field I like, please I need your help, my CV is attached as you requested.”

We learned that in spite of all our best efforts, Eman was coming up short at times because many countries make it difficult for Iraqi refugees to enter without extraordinary efforts on their behalf from an employer. This was an issue that put off many prospective employers since the time and money involved was a big issue for them. We kept up with Karam as he traveled on his own to Europe trying to land interviews and meeting with companies in what he felt was a final effort to try and change his situation. We were able to get a few companies to read his resume, but unable to push any doors open for him. He returned to Lebanon feeling the weight of frustration and time heavy on his shoulders.

As Bridge Resourcing expanded our client base into more Channel Partners in the Gulf region we continued to submit his resume for review. We turned once again to Cisco for help. The team headed by Celia Harper-Guerra at Cisco passed our request to the CAM in the Gulf region and we were so pleased to land an interview. Within 1 week Eman was sent an offer letter to present to Karam.

His words: “Dear Eman,

i can't believe my eyes, finally i will get a job i hope this time i will get the work permit, i could not do it with out you, there is no words that can describe how much i am grateful, kindly you can find attached the contract signed by me, should i send the signed contract to Issus directly? , also i noticed that you are attaching my old CV please find attached my new CV that you helped me to write.

thank you sir and God bless you”

Bridge provided this candidate and all the time it took to help him, at no charge. Because of our belief and support of the Talent Team at Cisco, we have already given many hours to career development of the future CCIEs that will be needed to support the growth of Cisco’s Channel Partners and the Cisco SRS team. Eman has provided consultation and guidance to many future CCIEs, he has also made time to speak with many kids and students about their careers. In the case of Karam, we are very proud to share a success story that proves that sometimes when you really try, you can make a difference!

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