I think the biggest problem is the unknown of it all. As we enter another year of dealing with the aftermath of the impact of COVID-19, we still don’t have a precedent to work off. The Great Resignation is new, vaccine mandates are new, and recruiters continue to try to compete with other industries, other recruiters, and even themselves. Recruiters are agile already, but how will they adapt to 2022 staffing trends, and react efficiently to the unknown of it all?

The State of the Cleared Recruiting Industry in 2022

Talent shortages and shrinking cleared workforce: how will the cleared staffing industry look in 2022? Will talent acquisition professionals be following the same trends or tactics to attract and retain talent, or will they be forced, yet again, to reinvent the wheel to prepare themselves for even more challenges?

1. Meeting Candidates Where They Are

Candidate expectations have changed during the last couple of years, and workers expect more from their company.

Whether it is taking a ding on a hard to fill role for a contract you need a happy customer on, companies need to start meeting candidates where they are at – whether that’s getting closer to their salary requirements, working out a hybrid / remote working schedule, or all of the above. Really, meeting candidates where they are starts with the recruitment process, and cleared recruiters will need to continue to operate within an environment where they are communicating with candidates through different touch points and platforms – really, wherever candidates are most comfortable. If this means hopping on a slack channel to re-recruit those cleared personnel that jumped into the private sector – do it. If it means paying a yearly membership to be a part of a D.C. national security club or non-profit, fork it over.

2. AI Tools and Approaches to Focus on Employer Branding

AI and recruitment automation solutions have been ruling the cleared recruiting industry for a few years, and while some managers may recognize the importance of these technology tools, some (particularly small businesses) are reluctant to invest. Defense contracting is built on successful staffing initiatives, so this is one thing that will make or break your business.

In 2022, recruiting teams must be proactive to leverage these technologies and understand their full potential, so they can spend time on other things like building connections with candidates already in the pipeline or employer branding.

3. Policy + Collaboration = Successful Defense Staffing

Specific to the niche market that is cleared recruiting, policy plays a big role in successful recruitment campaigns – specifically security clearance policy. Continued collaboration between government and industry (but with the recruiting focus) is critical to government entities understanding the issues that come about with staffing contracts when you have people who don’t care about maintaining security clearances as much as they used to.

Instead of complaining about vacant programs, promote open conversations and thought leadership amongst your executive teams, with your government customers, and other facilitators that can create solutions to some of the staffing problems today.

Adapting to a New Year

High turnover and increased job openings, more stress, and significant changes to candidate expectations with the commercial sector at play, 2022 will still have it’s challenges, but recruiters are one piece of the national security apparatus that is no stranger to adapting to different climates.




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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! 🇺🇸