Government Services

Having trouble attracting the perfect cleared candidate? You are not alone.

Post by
Kimberly Clark

If you’ve combed your talent pool for candidates who hold active security clearances, you know the unique challenges that come with recruiting for positions that require those clearances. Not only is the talent pool small, but the market for these candidates is extremely competitive. If you think this sounds daunting, you are not alone – but how do we understand and overcome the challenges related to sourcing cleared candidates?

Why are cleared positions such a challenge?

Recruiting cleared talent is one of the most complicated verticals in the staffing industry. While the demand for jobs that require security clearances has greatly increased over the last five years, the number of cleared candidates has significantly decreased. The workforce is changing –unemployment is at its lowest rate since February 2020, and labor force participation is at its highest rate since March 20201. And when commercial giants are all competing with you for talent in the same cleared space you have to offer more than just a paycheck if you want the right person for your open position. Employees also have an expectation of additional benefits that include working remotely and flexible schedules.  

Through all of this, clearance processing times also remain a challenge. Obtaining the comprehensive background check for a security clearance takes time and requires an impeccable personal and professional background. This results in a challenging hiring environment where there is a discrepancy between available talent and open positions.

What is the cost of filling a cleared position?

Recruiters and hiring managers are under pressure to quickly fill open positions. Not only are there fewer candidates in the marketplace, but the cost associated with positions that remain unfilled can quickly consume both time and budget.

Saying that time is money applies to anyone with a job opening that requires a security clearance. It takes time to find the right candidate and schedule interviews – and if the fit isn’t right or the candidate turns down the job offer, the process starts all over again. Cleared positions typically take 21-40 days to fill, and if you’re looking for a cleared candidate who is also highly technical it can take 41-60 days.2

The average cost to hire a cleared candidate is $4,835. Advertising and background checks factor heavily into this cost, so understanding your open position, audience, and differentiators from the start is important.2

How do I make sure my organization stands out?

While it might only take one candidate to fill your position, attracting that one ideal applicant means understanding what potential hires are looking for. It’s no surprise that the employee benefits you offer will help you stand out in a competitive market, but when most organizations already offer the basics like a 401(k) and health benefits, how will you differentiate your offerings?

Of course salary is always a motivator, but to really standout make sure you highlight benefits that go above and beyond. Ina recentClearance Jobs survey, 56% of candidates saw remote work as a game-changing benefit.While most are not interested in their retirement and wellness plans, they do want benefits that provide a work/life balance, including flexible hours and paid time off.

From benefits to bonuses, be prepared with a variety of tools to fill those tough positions—and keep them filled.

Partnering for success

When it comes to attracting and retaining those highly sought-after cleared candidates, take steps to ensure you are not wasting time and money. Find a partner with a proven history of success not just in recruiting, but in recruiting for cleared candidates.

Stillwater Human Capital takes the time to get to know your company, your brand, and your corporate culture. We help you stand out from the competition, working as an extension of your organization to present the benefits and environment that will bring the right candidates to the interview.

With extensive experience recruiting for cleared, technical positions, we combine our proven methodologies with a robust network of talent to ensure our partners’ mission success. Our expertise in filling challenging positions helps drive down the expenses and personnel strain associated with requisitions that remain open. Think we can help you too? Get in touch for more information!  




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