At a recent cleared hiring event ClearanceJobs was able to chat with Kristen Wecht, CEO, Embedded Systems Design Inc (ESD). She offered her insights into how to get hired into a competitive cleared position with ESD.

What is Embedded Systems Design Inc.?

We’re an engineering services company. We do embedded systems, and that’s a very niche market with a specific set of engineering skills required. A typical embedded systems engineer would be using an oscilloscope on one hand, and then turning around and doing computer programming on the other hand. It’s technology that spans the hardware/software boundary. You can think of an embedded system as a single function computer on a chip. It does one thing, and it has to do it well. For instance, your air bag is controlled by an embedded system. If your airbag needs to be deployed, that embedded system had better work, it had better be reliable. It has one function, and that’s to deploy the airbag when necessary.

What kinds of employees/skill-sets are you looking for?

In our industry, since we’re a government contractor, a lot of the embedded systems we deal with have to do with real-time digital signal processing, so we hire software engineers, systems engineers, systems integrators, electrical engineers, and systems architects. If you’re good at what you do, you enjoy collaborating, enjoy mentoring, and enjoy being mentored, then we want you.

What sets a candidate apart?

If a candidate’s experience matches the requirements of the opportunities we’ve identified then that is a plus. The government has very specific requirements, and we have to meet those requirements. More than that, to be an ESD employee – or ESD’er for short – you have an added level of pride in your work, and enthusiasm. These qualities will indeed set a candidate apart.

As an employer, what’s your attitude toward unemployed job seekers?

Times are hard in government contracting, so it’s completely understandable. Whereas, a number of months ago, if someone didn’t have a job that was frowned upon. Now if someone doesn’t have a job, you expect it.

For those unemployed applicants, what’s your tip for staying positive?

I see people who are down in the dumps and really act down in the dumps. They exude a feeling of hopelessness, not the enthusiasm most companies are looking for. I would say, it’s not hopeless. Think positive, and act as if you already have a job, or the job of your dreams. That positive energy and your visualization of that dream job will help it happen.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer