The founder and president of ClearanceJobs.com recently discussed the security clearance marketplace with recruiters. Here are a few of the questions he went over (or check out the full presentation and lively Q and A below).

1. The cleared population has been dwindling for a year – are we finally at rock bottom?

“Indications are we have not hit the bottom,” noted Evan Lesser, founder and president of ClearanceJobs.com.

Two factors are converging to cause the candidate purge – the government is actively looking to reduce the number of cleared professionals, and a strong commercial job market is causing candidates to move away from cleared work.

“Cleared professionals are jumping ship – the job market is excellent in the uncleared world, especially for IT and cyber professionals,” said Lesser.

2. How many cleared candidates have moved into the private sector?

“There’s no hard data at this point,” noted Lesser. “What we go off of is essentially the information we get from employers, from surveys, and where we see the tech industry growing.” As we see the commercial sector rise and the cleared sector shrink, there’s no doubt professionals are moving from cleared work to commercial work. Anecdotally, we often hear from candidates that the current clearance headaches (think the OPM hack, post-Snowden security challenges, etc), are making commercial positions much more attractive.

3. How much longer will there be a backlog in security clearance investigations?

“Estimate at least another year of this, if not longer,” said Lesser.

The National Background Investigation Bureau launched earlier this month. While reducing the backlog is on the agenda, they’re also facing yet another announcement of a potential insider threat.

4. Does cold calling candidates still work?

Probably not. Seventy-five percent of candidates consider themselves passive candidates, notes Lesser. They’re open to hearing about new opportunities, but they’re not actively looking. Seventy-five percent of the global workforce is also millennials. And for millennials, the message and the method both matter, says Lesser.

5. Do I need to pay attention to my company’s culture?

Definitely. “For candidates today, if they don’t see a personality, if they don’t see a culture, they’re just going to go somewhere else,” said Lesser. “It’s at the point now where you can’t leave your reputation on the table.”

Where will candidates look for more information about your company? Everywhere.

“Candidates are shopping for new jobs like they shop for new products,” said Lesser.

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