The federal government is notorious for their hiring practices which are very explicitly laid out in terms of how to apply and what criteria you must meet to make it past screening. The net that can be cast by contracting companies in support of the DoD, can make a judgment call on more than just meeting the criteria. And, in this era of hiring needs, we know that is invaluable.

Diversity Equity & Inclusion hiring practices are more important now than ever. DoD has a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan that is available to the public online. It talks about Executive Order 13583 that established a coordinated Government-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the Federal workforce.

“As demographics change, we are in a “Battle for Talent” to ensure we are able to recruit and retain the best our nation has to offer. It is critical that DoD strive to have a Total Force that not only possesses the diverse backgrounds and experiences to meet the complex challenges of the future global security environment, but that also reflects the face of the nation.”

7 Types of Employees DoD Contractors Need on Their Teams

Let’s look into some ways we can shake things up in respect to a more diverse workforce in national security. Here are the seven types of employees who could be a good fit for your team.

1. Boomerang Employees

Boomerang employees are the ones who left your company to find something else. They did stellar work for you, and you were sad to see them go. Consider reaching out to employees you have worked with in the past to see if they would be open to coming back and what conditions they would need to make that happen.

2. Retired Employees

Most people retire with clear oceans and white sandy beaches in their eyes. They then get there and start to miss the hustle and bustle of Corporate America. That or they miss the steady flow of income, but these folks might be just what you need to fill those consultant roles to bring their expertise straight to you.

3. 1099 Subcontractors

Let’s not pretend that money isn’t one of the essential driving factors into why we work. If you have the capability to offer a person a 1099 and to be responsible for their own healthcare benefits, tax’s, etc, then why not? Maybe you do not need someone full time but would like them on standby for when those types of projects come up that you know they would hit it out of the park.

4. Referrals of a Friend of a Friend

What does that mean? It means you are twice removed from their connection, but you have heard good things. Talent recognizes talent. If you have someone in your network who you have heard good things, sticking your neck out might not be the craziest thing you have ever done. What is life without a little risk? And if it’s a referral from someone you truly depend on and trust, I can’t imagine it would be much risk. Do not sleep on these connections. Reach out to your networks if you are hiring or looking for a job.

5. Transitioning Military Members.

I would not quite call this category a veteran hire, because veteran status means you have a DD214 in hand. What I mean is..people share all the time on social media that they are X amount of days until retirement, or until they separate! Everyone knows that you can map your MOS, AFSC, etc to civilian job categories. Why not look into those who are getting ready to join civilian life and grab these heroic and talented individuals into your company? The military is flooded with career fair opportunities for service members. Look into joining one.

6. Internal Promotions

I can guarantee you, right this very second, someone in your company is looking elsewhere for a job opportunity that would put them in the promotion category. What should that say to you as an employer? It should scream THEY ARE READY FOR MORE RESPONSIBILITY. Yes, that comes with a pay raise, but it also comes with someone dependable in your company who is already familiar with your mission and goals. Rather than posting a job to bring in an external candidate, reach out to stellar employees you already have and get a feel for where they are at and what else they might be ready for.

7. Career Jumpers

I am a prime-time example of this one, and everyone (not to toot my own horn) is always shocked to hear how I went from a clinical social worker who specialized in trauma therapy to a successful DoD Program Manager. I have been able to take skills from my previous life and use them as strengths in this DoD world. There are people out there who desperately want to make a jump but are scared to apply to your positions because their resume might not speak directly to what you need. However, they know they are MORE THEN CAPABLE to do the role. My recommendation? Add a sentence at the bottom of your position description that says something like, “even if your skill set might not align up with the position perfectly, we still encourage you to apply as we look at the person as a whole rather than just their employment history.” TALENT IS OUT THERE and wanting to work for you. Allow them the opportunity.


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NJ has over 10 years inside the DoD working for various organizations and cleared defense contractors. With an ear to the ground on all things OPSEC, cyber, machine learning & mental health, she is an untapped keg of open source information.