The cleared recruitment process for a defense contractor is quite unique from any other talent acquisition industry. Depending on the size of the company you are recruiting for, you may have added steps, but here are 10 steps of the cleared hiring process to help you be successful in signing a secret squirrel to one of your programs.
1. Pre award recruitment
Prior to actually recruiting for a vacant billet, the recruitment team will support the business capture or proposal team (if they are supporting a defense contractor…federal is much different). Along with providing data on pricing for salaries, recruiters will secure letters of intent and format resumes for key personnel when responding to an RFP. These are *supposed* to be leadership or team leads that will working on the program, but the goal is to provide a winning resume, so your company secures the contract and staff employees later when you win the work.
2. Post award planning
Prep is critical to a successful recruiting team and ultimately a cleared program. After celebrating your company winning the work, you need to start planning what the recruitment will look like. Will you be capturing incumbents? Identifying new candidates? Are there special groups you join to reach talent? This step includes working with hiring managers to learn more about the work, salaries offered, what marketing / employer branding tactics you should utilize, etc.
3. Candidate analysis
Once you learn what billets you will be staffing, next you should establish the qualities you are seeking for the ideal talent. This should include desired skills, education level, years of experience, and any x factor qualities noted by your leadership. Determining this early on in the recruitment process can help to build job descriptions and streamline what kinds of applicants to engage with later throughout hiring process, ultimately saving time. This step also includes ensuring you will be meeting OFCCP compliance standards.
4. Job posting and marketing push
After planning, it’s time to hit the ground running in advertising your new openings. Publish to your website, share on your social platforms, ensure the ClearanceJobs job scraper has pulled from your website to your CJ profile, and publish to applicable groups across the internet. Advertising in the right places is key to reaching the best candidate. This is where you will also engage your own employees and remind them of any referral benefits they can leverage.
Searching through resumes is the next natural step in cleared recruitment – while it’s important to have an application on your website to catch those candidates that may be in the job market, today’s world of cleared recruitment will always include targeting passive candidates in hopes of converting them to potentially interested. Sifting through resumes online and engaging candidates at job fairs will get you to the next step of screening.
6. Phone screens
A phone screen allows you to have an introductory conversation with a potential candidate and ask any disqualifying questions. For example, you will always ask, “Is your clearance active?” “What are your salary requirements?” “When would you be available to start?” or “Do you have xxx certification?”
If a candidate makes it through the phone screen and genuinely seems interested, next step will be to conduct an interview either with you, the hiring manager or team lead, via zoom or in-person. Many contractors choose their own adventure for this piece of the hiring process, depending on how quickly a position needs to be filled.
You’ve found your ideal candidate for the current role, submitted them to the government customer and had their qualifications approved! Next you will notify the candidate that they were selected and prepare to make an offer.
9. Offer and salary negotiation
Your finance team will let you know what works within the budget in terms of salary, and you or your HR manager will put together an offer letter to send to the candidate. Your candidate may push back and counteroffer, so this step in the recruiting process takes a lot of patience and communication from the recruiter to the candidate. Your recruitment team may also check professional references at this step or during the selection phase.
Fingers crossed that your candidate signs the offer letter and actually shows up for their first day! Once an offer is signed, the FSO will usually have security paperwork and other indoc documents for the candidate to fill out. HR will have other onboarding paperwork, and you as the recruiter should keep in touch with your candidate to ensure they start their first day and have a successful first few weeks on the job.
THE CLEARED RECRUITING CHRONICLES: YOUR WEEKLY DoD RECRUITING TIPS TO OUT COMPETE THE NEXT NATIONAL SECURITY STAFFER.