“What are you doing that sets yourself apart?”   -Tom Weinert, Mount Indie

Department of Defense recruitment has drastically changed over the last decade, and recruiters are looking for answers on how to solve their talent acquisition problems. Recruiters tend to be competitive individuals, and might forget that they can leverage folks who are in the same sinking boat of staff placement in 2020.

ClearanceJobs recently chatted with Tom Weinert, the founder of Mount Indie, a family run business headquartered in San Diego, CA. Mount Indie acts as a source for talent and provides recruiting solutions for businesses of all sizes. He is also the co-host of The Employment Line, a podcast that offers a fresh take on recruiting. Weinert has over 10 years of experience in managing large scale recruitment programs in the commercial, federal and DoD space.

ClearanceJobs sat down with Weinert to discuss the current staffing augmentation market and in-demand positions at Mount Indie and beyond. For Weinert’s small to mid-size business clients, he is placing roles that range from software developers to DevOps, intelligence to IT. This is very much in line with the tech skills we see in highest demand for 2020. 


Schmoozing a candidate to join forces with your team is tough in today’s market. Weinert discussed some of the company benefits he uses as negotiating tools when selling his clients to potential candidates.

“What we see a lot right now is everyone wants some sort of remote option, which is very difficult with cleared work,” notes Weinert. “Some companies are finding work-arounds for that – most candidates in software development or any type of work that you don’t have to be in an office or around a team. Even if it’s just 1-2 days a week.”

Recruiters should feel comfortable discussing these options with their program managers  to see if the client is willing to have employees work offsite.

“Another huge thing is performance bonuses,” says Weinert. If a company has the means and is able to be forward thinking, candidates very much appreciate these types of benefits. Creative benefits help push some candidates over the mark, making them more attractive and helping them to stand out in a tight market.

“The other thing is really digging in to your benefits program because I guarantee there [are benefits] that you don’t know are there,” says Weinert. This is a great reminder to recruiting and human resources teams, and how they internally need to communicate and have fluid conversations when a company and an applicant get to the point of negotiating an offer.


Be inquisitive! Ask questions! (There are ABSOLUTELY no stupid questions).

“When you get into the cleared space you think your PM knows everything, and you don’t question anything,” said Weinert. That’s a mistake. It’s easy to think that the hiring managers are omniscient, but being inquisitive will help you place the most qualified candidate. Weinert also recommends recruiters new to the DoD space be mindful of taking action daily. He discussed how different the DoD and commercial space are, and how the recruiting style really should overlap more than it does.

CLEARANCES Through Different Agencies

Recruiters should touch base with their Facility Security Officer on a candidate’s clearance. Even if clearances are held in a different system, sometimes candidates can still work on the contract due to reciprocity – although, timelines may prevent a candidate from coming on board right away. Reciprocity occurs when an agency accepts a security clearance granted to an individual by a former agency.

Again, be inquisitive and use the resources that are available to you – including your security officer.

Reading Between the Data

Data is a tool of every team in today’s business environment, and that’s no different for recruiting teams  who can make a quality hire with the data collected through the hiring process.

“As a small business, data is really important to us,” said Weinert. “We’ve spend a lot of time leading internal talent acquisition teams, so we understand the recruiting data. The first thing I want to say about data is whenever you’re dealing with  data, you have to make sure it’s data the audience cares about. From a recruiting point of view –  time to fill, source of hire, time that candidates are in workflow – these are very important to me.”

However, if you are speaking to another audience,  like an executive team, the data they might care about can look quite different. So all in all, data is important from a performance perceptive, but understanding what’s important to your audience is key.

Messaging is a whole other slew of data. Response rates, the type of response, the time of response, etc. Finding the best day or time of day to communicate with candidates will fine tune your ability to fill cleared positions quickly with the DoD.

Open source toolbox

Recruiting team structures differ between companies and industries, so we discussed the misconception that ‘sourcers’ are junior recruiters, when in fact they are far from it. A sourcer finds passive candidates, or the individuals not applying through company websites. A sourcer is a hunter. A sourcer creates interest and drives talent to a company. This means doing research. This means being an Open Source Intelligence Analyst and driving the candidate to apply or start the conversation with a recruiter. Having this “hunting mentality” in conjunction with a systematic approach to hire (or recruitment software) will make you a successful recruiter in DoD today.

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸