How can you find the best or top talent for your new DoD contracts if you are new (and small) yourself? Seeing your revenue skyrocket from billets being filled can be tough when you feel you don’t have the manpower to staff those contracts.

You have no time, little resources, and no reputation in the industry or with some of the bigger players to team with. While business development teams are generally about relationships and networking, recruiting as a newer defense contractor starts with the bones of the organization and its processes.

Here are a few tricks for new or small defense contractors seeking top talent to fill the billets that ultimately increase revenue (and your rep with DoD customers).

Outsource When You Need It

Maybe you have one recruiter supporting your company, or you even handle it yourself as the owner. Executive teams can be reluctant to outsource their recruiting needs, but sometimes the benefits are worth the extra cost. Your sanity is important too, as you could be chasing the wrong priorities with all the plates you’re spinning.

Think about the time you’ve been spending recruiting and the potential money you’ve been losing as a position remains vacant. Is it less than what you would pay a staffing agency to find someone within the week?

If there are time consuming tasks that are a part of the staffing process (like your social media presence or any other recruitment marketing tactics), consider working with a freelancer or hiring an intern from a local university.

Special Perks vs. Higher Salary

A lot of new companies emphasize the importance of company culture by offering interesting perks or unusual benefits as an effort to set themselves apart from the more experienced competition. But sometimes, people would just really like more cash, making these not the best way to acquire top talent (and sometimes deter them).

Consider increasing salaries where you can or create a cash in PTO program for certain roles. This way, you give candidates the opportunity to enjoy the company culture of a smaller company along with a decent salary. Since newer contractors may not have the relationships that can benefit their rates as a subcontractor with primes, giving a higher salary can be beneficial to your recruitment strategy and building your reputation.

Spend a Little Cash

As always, you have to spend money to make money. New business owners are very cautious of this, but that caution can be at the detriment to your growth. When people don’t know about you, it’s your job to let cyberspace know that you exist and are hiring. Here are a few quick tricks:

  • Advertise on industry-relevant newsletters like AFCEA, Signal Magazine, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, Cipher Brief, or ClearanceJobs.
  • Inform colleges and universities for internships and engage with individuals from security clearance or IC track programs like University of Maryland Global Campus.
  • Write in relevant Slack groups (focused on veterans, military, or you’re your company capabilities).
  • Build relationships with TAP programs or organizations like U.S. Army Soldier for Life.




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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ 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! 🇺🇸