How to Spot Top Government Talent

Cleared Recruiting talent pool

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The Office of Personnel Management is the latest government agency to announce buy-out plans for its personnel. Three-hundred buy-outs are being offered across 14 divisions. Those divisions include personnel in compliance, human resources, security, and finance, among others. While some agencies continue to pursue insourcing as a means of saving money, it’s expected that ‘right-sizing’ efforts will turn more government employees into job seekers in the coming years.

What does that mean for your company? The chance to on-board some great talent with a high-level of experience. How do you sift through to the top government talent in an applicant pool in the thousands? Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t let age matter. No one is going to admit they age-discriminate but it’s a reality that when you’re looking to fill a position, the 30-year-old candidate may seem like a better long-term investment than the 60-year-old candidate. But if 60 is the new 40, and government personnel in their 50s and 60s are most likely to be taking buy-out and early retirement options, some of your best talent may come in an older package. That said, make sure you find someone with enthusiasm for taking on a new role, and not nostalgic for the job of their past.
  2. Look for mobility in a resume. Personnel who have spent forty years in the same position may be less resilient to taking on the role of contractor vs. government employee. A diverse background that includes time spent in other offices or agencies, or even a stint in the private sector is a good sign.
  3. Know the legal rules and ethics. Some government employees, including military personnel, face specific prohibitions concerning employment with the private sector. This most specifically applies to program managers or those involved in an acquisition process where the hiring contractor benefitted. Know the rules before you hire.
  4. Keep an open mind about those looking for a new start. As a contractor, you’re looking to serve government clients. You may have a lot to learn from certain government employees. Consider putting them into mentorship relationships with your business development team, and be willing to find unconventional ways to let their government background enhance your bottom line. A well-informed contractor workforce benefits the government client, and helps you offer the best, most cost-effective solutions. Dig into a resume to find out how government work can offer unexpected benefits to contracts you’re currently working or thinking of pursuing.


Lindy Kyzer is the editor of She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.