Mike Prencipe, Civilian Recruiter, Offers Candidates Tips for Success

Criterion | Career

Mike Prencipe, Civilian Recruiter, Offers Candidates Tips for Success


Mike Prencipe is a recruiter for Criterion’s civilian programs. He offers some advice for candidates seeking positions at a government contractor.

How important is previous government contract experience for potential candidates? Do you frequently receive candidates with commercial experience? What’s a good balance?

Prior government experience isn’t a necessity on some of our contracts, but it always helps. We do have work that demands a security clearance, and, in that sense, we’d need previous experience in a “cleared” position. We also have contracts that welcome candidates with commercial experience. One challenge we have found in recruiting from this market is that much of the talent is international, while our contracts usually demand employees are US citizens.

What advice do you have for early career professionals or people re-entering the job market after the pandemic?

Having an appealing resume is a great start. Timing and luck are also key to an early career or job market re-entry position. I suggest talking to people you know. It is surprising how often a new position comes via word of mouth. Find companies that you want to work for and target them to see if they have appropriate openings. Look at all kind of job events. Keep your resume mobile and don’t be afraid to share with recruiters you meet along the way. We encourage our employees to provide referrals to candidates, for which they receive a generous financial reward if the person they refer is hired.

What are questions you like to ask to help you better understand how a candidate might fit into Criterion’s corporate culture?

When I converse with candidates, I talk about me and then I talk to them. I want a good sense of communication. Corporate culture is important, and I think we do a nice job of projecting corporate values to our folks, but the reality is every customer site and program manager create their own subculture. For example, the culture with our folks at the Department of Energy might be unrecognizable to the culture at a USDA site. We need to have good communications to ensure people to fit into those subcultures, as well as into our company as a whole. That being said, I believe our company is able to adapt to individuals, much as the individual adapts to us.

What do you like best about recruiting as a profession?

What I like best is aligning a person’s job with their interests, knowing that you have potentially enhanced their life. I too have a sense of accomplishment knowing that my work has a measurable impact on company revenue and growth.