For over two decades, the job search and hiring landscape has gone through dramatic changes. And whether you are transitioning out of the military to the private sector, a candidate hoping to pivot careers, or someone who was just laid off, you can experience some roadblocks. Some candidates complain that they spend hours on applications and interviews but can’t get a call or email back from a recruiter. Other job seekers note that they are extremely passive, happy in their current role but open to conversations for the right opportunity.

4 Ways to Make Job Searching NOT Suck for Candidates

We experienced a pandemic and a shift to remote work in the last couple years. As we enter the world of lots of cleared jobs, a shrinking candidate pool, jobs impacted by AI, and much more, here are a few ways to ensure that applying for your company’s openings is not a fun sucker for cleared candidates.

1. Actually respond to their application and don’t leave them hanging.

Candidates (like recruiters) have a common complaint that ghosting is still an issue, even with the many communications tools at your disposal. Make sure you respond to every applicant – whether it is a blanket auto generated message saying “we received your application” or a kind rejection email / SMS that notes you will keep their resume on file for future roles.

2. Be honest about what openings are currently vacant.

Ghost jobs are roles advertised by companies that could be old, perhaps a catch all for a certain skill like “intelligence analyst” or ones that are unmonitored. Insider reported that “a 2022 study by the small-business-loan provider Clarify Capital found that over 27% of 1,000 surveyed hiring managers admit to leaving “ghost job” postings up online for over four months, both to create the illusion of booming business and to placate overworked employees who want to see that their bosses are ostensibly looking for more help.” If you are advertising for a proposal effort in hopes of winning a contract, be honest with candidates about the likelihood and imminence that a role will actually be staffed.

3. Check your work if you’re using AI for recruiting or HR functions.

AI or tools like ChatGPT should be used with caution in the hiring process to avoid discriminatory practices. However, AI can be a solution for tasks that are monotonous and take time. If you do use tools like these to streamline certain functions, be sure to check your work – receiving a rejection letter for the wrong role or being knocked out of the candidate pool when they actually qualify could ruin your reputation for simple mistakes. And, if you’re hiring in states such as Illinois, Maryland, or New York (even if your HQ office isn’t there) do a bias audit or disclose that you are using AI – these states have laws regarding the use of AI screening in the hiring process.

4. Don’t make employment gaps the focus of your conversations.

Where an employment gap was once taboo, now it is a part of the job seeking culture. Whether you were laid off by a large tech company, making moves as a military spouse, or just plain ol’ needed a break, job hunters are not as stigmatized for having a gap on their resume. Therefore, this should not be a huge focus of the conversation during interviews – and frankly, cleared recruiters don’t have a leg to stand on in being that picky for candidates these days.



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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! 🇺🇸