It’s essential to have a strategy if you’re looking to hire professionals with an active federal security clearance. Low unemployment and more open positions than available candidates means it’s a job seeker’s market. It’s easy to believe your messages are being ignored because of the market. But sometimes you can do more. Here are tips for how you can better time and plan your messages to attract the best candidates.

1. Double down on your contacts.

Maria Whitney, senior recruiter at Smartronix notes she always contacts candidates at least twice. “I focus on a minimum of double contact tactics,” she notes. “After each voice message, I follow up with an email providing my full contact information and clear hours of availability – including nights and weekends.” She then follows up with email if she hasn’t heard back by the close of business day. After that, she’ll look to connect with the candidate on social media.

A double-down contact strategy is helpful for several reasons. First, it keeps you top of mind. Second, it ensures security-conscious candidates that you’re a legitimate recruiter.

Word of warning: A double-down strategy only works if you’re reaching out to the right candidate. Double-check your messaging to ensure your words hit the mark. Sending a candidate multiple poorly crafted, unthoughtful messages isn’t networking – it’s spam.  

2. Remember some candidates can only respond ‘after hours.’

If your ideal candidate is most likely currently working in a SCIF, keep in mind that he or she will not be able to answer your message during typical work hours. If that is the case, you may want to start timing some of your messages to drop right at 5 or 6 PM – when a candidate has left the office. If you sent your message at 8 AM, it is already buried in their inbox by the time they check their messages at 5.

3. Consider different messages on different days of the week.

Statistically, job search activity is higher on a weekday. But don’t be afraid to play around with the days you post your job openings or reach out to candidates. Tuesday is often viewed as a good day of the week for any kind of marketing communication, including recruiting activities. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only day.

“I have read statistics in years past that said many people look for jobs on a Monday (you know, Monday blues) so I keep that in mind when reaching out to candidates,” said Jan Johnston Osburn, vice president of strategy and execution at Lewis Price. “I send messages at all times through the day.” And while the end of the week tends to not be considered a key time for searching out new positions, a disappointing pay-day may be the motivation for a candidate to start looking for new positions.

On ClearanceJobs you can set up alerts to let you know if a candidate you’ve flagged is online or engaged in job search activities. Let the website do the work for you, and track the activity of your most coveted talent.

4. Make your weekend messages count.

Recruiting has never been a nine-to-five job. But if you’re reaching out to candidates over the weekend, it’s okay to acknowledge you’re reaching out on what should be your and their down time.

“I send messages over the weekend,” says Osburn. “But I try to jazz it up a bit. Like, ‘you may think I’m crazy for working on a Saturday, but that’s how much I love my job, and how much I think you’ll love working for this company.'”

5. Maximize your messages.

Happy hour isn’t just for drinking margaritas (but I’ll take one). On ClearanceJobs, it’s also for connecting with candidates. Every Tuesday from 3 to 4 PM ET you can send two additional broadcast messages, and connect with unlimited candidates. Mark this time on your calendar and take advantage of these free messaging opportunities each week, and you’ll see the difference in the size of your network.

Recruiters we connect with at ClearanceJobs who see the best engagement from their messaging consistently report they participate in the ClearanceJobs happy hour every week. Why does this one factor result in better engagement? By practicing their messaging each week with two free broadcast messages, they’re learning what works – and what doesn’t. They apply those lessons learned to other emails and candidate messages they send.

Treat the candidate as if you’re working for them

“The best tactics in messaging I found is to always call first, to show the candidate I am a real person and truly want to speak with them,” said Whitney. “I then wait hours before following up my message with the email containing my full contact info, hours of availability and my hours for nights and weekend contact. I always let candidates know if they prefer to calls, texts, IMs over Skype or even other social media connecting,  that I am flexible. Flexibility to fit their needs is key.”

Create a system, such as Whitney’s double-contact strategy, but don’t hesitate to play around with messaging timing, and creating a strategy that fits your specific recruiting and hiring needs. Your job as a defense industry and intelligence community recruiter has perhaps never been harder. Take out all the tools in your toolkit to ensure you succeed.

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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