Experiences as a recent graduate

First published September 2009

Name withheld

After graduating in the Summer of 2009, I knew that it would not be easy to find employment in a Computer Forensic related role. More specifically, I knew that the state of the UK’s economy would not help matters, as companies are now cutting back on graduate schemes in order to save costs to help them through these bad times. However, I could not rely on the fact that companies might not be recruiting and do nothing to pass the time whilst unemployed; with this in mind, I started my job search.

Initially, it was quite difficult and frustrating as I had no idea as to the names of companies operating within the sector. Also, a number of thoughts came to mind, such as how do I find out “who’s who” within this industry and what should I be looking for in a potential job position. Eventually though, I managed to gain a general idea through many comprehensive internet searches as to what companies to apply for.

After identifying some companies to contact, I sought to contact these companies but I came across another dilemma in that I did not know who to contact and address emails to. At this point, I decided to call each company and this was met with mixed success. With some of the companies, a receptionist would just tell me to send an email to some generic email address, such as jobs@someforensiccompany.com or info@someforensiccompany.com. With other companies, a receptionist would reveal an email address of a person whom he/she thought was relevant. However, the problem with this is that I did not know whether my C.V would be directed to the actual correct person or indeed whether my C.V would actually be looked at.

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I have also used recruiters, I used recruiters to see whether they could contact companies directly and represent me as a candidate. After a whiIe, I began to understand the general processes that recruitment agencies go through and it quickly became apparent that there are two distinct types of methods that recruiters use.

The first method, which I define as “under-handedness”, came about through personal experiences, whereby I went for an interview via a recruiter, at which stage another recruiter deemed it correct and appropriate to try and sabotage my interview. After experiencing this, the only logical (or rather illogical) reason as to why this happened was because of the recruitment fee, which could be around 15-25% of my salary. There are also a number of other techniques I also experienced, which included sending my C.V to every forensic company they can think of without my prior permission and making false promises about sending information relating to vacancies that actually have no chance of becoming live.

Conversely, the second method, which I define and consider as the most professional way, involved the recruiter liaising with you before and after successful employment. They will provide a long term service with pure emphasis on clarity, truth and actual consideration for you as a candidate. This type of recruiter will also concentrate on positions which they consider to be a correct match for your skills, rather than a correct match for their wallet or bank balance.

Furthermore, recruiters that use the second method will also help you with any positions that you have applied for directly. Such help or advice might relate to the reputation of the company or the type of work the company is involved in. As a graduate, I would certainly advocate listening to anything the recruiter has to say as I recently chose to ignore advice given to me which resulted in being employed with a company that was far from ideal. This now leads me onto my next point, choosing the right company for you.

Choosing the right company requires much thought, which is something that I previously failed to do successfully. The general purpose of going for interviews is that the prospective employer is considering whether you are a correct match for them and equally, you as the prospective employee are looking to see whether the prospective employer is a correct match for you. No matter whether the company has all the latest forensic software, super quick PC hardware and EnCase Training, you should always feel confident with the prospective employer. In hindsight, I should have thought about my previous employment more carefully but as a graduate, I understand that you might be eager to get a job in forensics but accepting any job without much thought will only result in problems later on.

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