Staffing has its challenges, but in a mega-tight labor market, the recruiter is more valuable now than they ever have been. So how do you maintain a killer staffing strategy? It’s crucial to hire the right people to do the hiring.

The unemployment rate is sitting at 3.6%, the lowest since before COVID-19 rocked our world, and vacant billets are at record highs. People joke that companies furloughed their recruiters and are now wondering what they could ever do without them. Defense contractors are discovering (if they didn’t know before) that recruiting teams are the beating hearts of successful programs within national security, now more than ever—especially in a candidate’s market that we have been working in for the last decade.


While sourcing for those that will be doing the sourcing has similarities to staffing other contract roles, there are some key things to be aware of since this isn’t a recruiter’s first rodeo.

  1. Know when to sell it or tell it like it is: Recruiters are very sociable people who are great at selling things less desirable to get the billet filled. Know when to cut the BS when you’re interviewing a recruiter – they can usually see through it.
  2. Pull from other positions or industries: Many recruiters are burnt out from struggling in defense recruiting, so to avoid hiring a job hopper that is going to leave you in a few months, try pulling from another similar industry like commercial tech, or hiring someone who has worked in the contractor world previously but in a different kind of capacity.
  3. Be swift in closing: Like other cleared candidates, some recruiters are fielding multiple offers. If you decide on a recruiter that is a good fit for your company, make the offer within 24 hours of a successful interview. If you’re quicker, it shows you’re serious about them and shows they won’t be tied up in closing when they eventually become your staffer.

How you treat your candidates, especially candidates that are interviewing for a recruiter opening, speaks volumes. Your candidates can be your biggest referral, and you want to keep a positive reputation. Especially when the candidate is recruiter.

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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! 🇺🇸