The trifecta of a record high defense budget, a shrinking pool of security-cleared professionals, and a giant backlog of candidates waiting for a final clearance determination has made the defense recruiting marketplace difficult, to say the least. The number of jobs on ClearanceJobs has increased by 546% since 2014, and 42% year-over-year. It’s quite a different market than it was four years ago.
With virtual full employment, security-cleared candidates have their pick of jobs. If they want to work, they will be working. How can you ensure they see your jobs? And how can you make your jobs so compelling that they would consider leaving their current job for your company?
Here are five tips to make your jobs cut through the noise and get the candidate’s attention.
Step 1: Write a thorough job description
It may not sound revolutionary, but a clear, detailed job description is the first step in attracting candidates. Up to 80% of all job searches begin on Google, so make sure your job description includes all relevant key words that a candidate may include when searching for a job. It should also include: a detailed summary of the job; types of activities the candidate will be doing; required skills, experience, certifications or education needed to do the job; and a description of the company and culture (more on culture in a minute).
Step 2: Make sure it’s easy to find
This starts with the job title. Make sure the job title makes sense and will show up in a candidate’s relevant searches. “Director of First Impressions” may sound like a nice title, but a candidate is more likely to search for “Front Desk Receptionist.” The job title should be as descriptive as possible and not contain complex government numbers or acronyms.
Also, make sure to clearly categorize the clearance level required and the industry and job type of the posting. ClearanceJobs makes this easy. By choosing a specific job category like “Finance” or “Engineering-Chemical,” you’re making it as easy as possible for job seekers to find the posting.
Step 3: Talk about salary
It may sound risky, but this is an important step if you want to increase traffic to your post. Some recruiters have found that including a salary in the job posting doubles the number of applications. ClearanceJobs data shows that applicant numbers increase by 9% for each 1% rise in the posted wage. Not only will it increase traffic, it can help entice passive candidates who might otherwise not be looking to leave their current position.
It also helps candidates know whether this is an offer they should even consider. This will save time and effort for both of you. This kind of transparency builds an initial layer of trust with your brand. It shows that you’re willing to show your cards instead of keeping them guessing. If the position includes a signing bonus or special benefits, be sure to list those, too.
Step 4: Focus on mission and purpose
You’d be amazed how many recruiting emails or job postings lack enthusiasm. Even if it seems like the most mundane help desk job, you have to find the value, and sell that value to the candidate. Just as a candidate wants to feel important, the job they do should seem important, as well. Remember, recruiting is a wooing game, and these days it’s your job to romance the candidate!
When it comes to what motivates employees, mission and purpose is often the key driver—right behind salary. Tie the position you’re offering to a mission the candidate can get behind.
Step 5. Describe your company’s culture
A new Glassdoor study found that applicants are more likely to move cities for a job because of a company’s appealing culture, even more than a larger salary. Culture is especially important when attempting to woo the passive candidate away from their secure job. Things like coffee bars, summer hours, family leave, company outings, and a positive atmosphere matter.
If you’re struggling with quality responses to your job postings, remember these five steps:
- Write a thorough job description populated with key words and terms that a candidate is likely to search for.
- Make it easy to find by having clear-cut job titles and appropriately categorizing the job type, industry and clearance level required. Avoid government jargon in the job title.
- Discuss salary and other special benefits to entice passive candidates; consider adding a signing bonus.
- Focus on mission and purpose – something that a candidate can get behind.
- Describe your company’s culture to appeal to the passive candidate.
This should help your jobs get enough traffic that you can find the candidate of your dreams.