Okay, you got us: April Fools! The Cleared Recruiting Chronicles has a lot of focus on the issues surrounding technical talent in the national security space – however, talking about the problems helps us find some hacks that can help improve your recruiting workflows. Even though recruiters DON’T actually think these technical talent scenarios are profitable for their staffing, most will agree that they can be frustrating and prevent teams from filling billets.

When a candidate flat out lies

If a candidate starts to ghost, it can get a greener recruiter down, but it’s to be expected. The candidate received another offer, lost interest, or had an actual emergency pop up that prevented them from getting back to you on a position.

But when a candidate flat out lies (and with terrible excuses) it can make a recruiter scratch their head. In an interview with a national security headhunter in the DC metro area, he said that a candidate made it to their first day of work and informed the recruiter they were in the office parking lot. The supervisor called later that day and let the recruiter know the prospective employee never showed. They had a valid excuse that their brother had been in a helicopter accident and said they still wanted the job. After a second start date, the candidate was a no-show again, but had another valid excuse: they were attending their brother’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

After another recruiter at the company sat across from the original recruiter and received a call from the candidate saying they were interested in new job opportunities, this recruiter knew the entire story was fabricated. Really? Who calls the same company they just flaked on?

Cleared candidates: just be honest and don’t burn bridges.

When fellow recruiters don’t update the ATS

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are valuable pieces of recruiting software but must be used properly in order to be efficient. It’s not only frustrating when a candidate says, ‘I’ve already been in contact with your colleague and have a contingent offer signed for XXXXX contract’, but it’s embarrassing. It can also easily be avoided.

Updating candidates in your company’s ATS with where candidates are at in the process will help recruiters maintain communication with pipelined individuals and avoid reaching out to the icky or blacklisted ones.

When a company doesn’t invest in recruiting resources

‘Get me a TS/SCI cleared systems engineer who will relocate to DC for 75K.’ Hiring managers are usually looking for a needle in a haystack and generally for a position they priced too low. Recruiters already have a tough time filling – especially if they’re using the basic level of LinkedIn as their main recruiting technology.

This one is a big issue for the companies that are at 60 employees or smaller but want to grow, grow, grow without paying for it. Technical recruitment requires niche resources, and companies need to be willing to fork over the dough to get those vacant billets filled.

It’s all about using the right resources for sourcing – otherwise, people will think you’re an April Fools’ joke.



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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 7+ 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! 🇺🇸