Geo Week News reported that a major hurdle for the geospatial agencies within the Intelligence Community (IC) is that it is difficult to attract, recruit and keep talent for the GEOINT skilled jobs they have open. The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) hosted the 20th edition of the GEOINT Symposium last week – a gathering that brings together the GEOINT stakeholders within government, academia, and private industry. A topic of interest at the expo was on recruiting people who may not be a part of common candidate pools that the government taps into (i.e., neurodiverse individuals).

What was discussed at GEOINT can be applied to all agencies across the Department of Defense (DoD) and IC. Think outside the box to grow your network and potential hires.


While private industry keeps the government nimble and security / cyber are becoming increasingly important, recruitment seems to be one of the biggest challenges of our industry. What’s a tactical approach that recruiters can take? Look outside your traditional talent pools.

Here are three hypothetical positions and a few uncommon places to reach talent.

1. Software Engineers in the private sector for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

While some companies are not willing to sponsor H1B visas for talent who aren’t U.S. citizens (once a common practice for work at the USPTO), recruiting engineers or other technical candidates from private industry to work in a public trust role at the USPTO can be an easy pull – a position of public trust has generally moved faster than a Secret or Top Secret clearance in my experience (for someone who has a clean background). Another candidate pool outside of the traditions of Capitol Hill would be to pull candidates from Richmond, VA, an area with not much work besides whatever is hybrid / remote or things at Fort Lee. Incentivize candidates with the lush salaries of the DC metro and the cost of living of southern VA.

2. Former physical security specialists make great all-source analysts.

This isn’t across the board, but the HUMINT aspect of physical security with the quick wits of the right candidate may work out in their favor in a junior analyst role – especially if they already hold the security clearance and meet the education requirements. If you go this nontraditional route, just ensure that your hire can learn tools likeSIPRNet, JWICS, JDISS, Palantir, or i2 Analyst Notebook (I’ve been trained on Palantir, so it’s not rocket science 😊).

3. Give your technical writer candidates a boost in upward mobility.

While they aren’t traditional IT Project Managers or DevOps Engineers, technical writers have the skills to translate many complex projects into a possible workflow. DevOps uses practices and tools to deliver applications using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. IT project management is planning, scheduling, execution, monitoring and reporting. Give technical writer candidates a little bit of credit – if they have the clearance, they could be your best managers or communicators yet.



Related News

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! 🇺🇸