How to Recruit and Hire Top Talent for Federal Contractors

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Recruiting is hard. Recruiting in the world of federal contractors is really hard.

Not only do federal contractor talent acquisition teams need to find the candidates with the best education, experience, and technical skills, but federal contractors have increased scrutiny meeting OFCCP requirements.

They need to hire veterans, and women, and diverse, or underrepresented employee bases. And they also often need to find the candidates that have the appropriate security clearance.

Only about 1% of the US population has some level of security clearance, and different roles require different levels of clearance — some may only need “secret,” others need “top secret” and so on.

So, even once you find candidates with some security, recruiters need to keep digging to determine if it’s the appropriate level. As if the search for the 1% isn’t challenging enough for recruiters, the number of people with security clearances is only decreasing.

The 8 pillars of recruiting and hiring success for federal contractors

Needless to say, the job of recruiters in the federal contracting space continues to get more difficult. So, what are some best practices to attract, engage, and recruit the best candidates?

Read on to discover eight best practices your recruiting staff can use to successfully attract and place some of the most challenging candidates today for federal contractors you work with.

1) Clearly define your employer value proposition.

An employer value proposition (EVP) “provides current and future employees with clear reasons to choose and stay with an employer.” Your EVP will help candidates to understand what a career with your company will mean to them, their lifestyle, and their family.

It’s a realistic statement of what your company will be like to work for, and it’s easy to post and share on your career site, ads, and more.

2) Source for high-quality talent in the “right” places.

Clearance workers, diverse, or underrepresented workers are hard to find, especially since workers with security clearance do not advertise their clearance by design. Finding diverse workers can take some creativity to find.

Recently, we hosted a great webinar with leading sourcers who provided tips and tricks to finding diverse and underrepresented candidates. Check it out for some helpful sourcing advice.

3) Pay once, not twice, to generate new candidates.

Build a proprietary, centralized CRM to track all of your candidates. Source them once, and then build your own proprietary database to ensure you aren’t paying for them more than once.

4) Identify target audiences to build talent pipelines.

Determine which key roles are most important to your business, and then create strategies and plans to build and nurture those pipelines.

Work with your internal HR team to know how many candidates you’ll be hiring for key roles in the future, determine what’s important for those candidates, create relevant messaging, and determine where and how to attract and engage those candidates.

Some candidates might be at a desktop, while others are on the go. For the latter type of job prospects, you’ll likely have more success engagement-wise by texting those candidates.

5) Develop clearly defined candidate personas.

Know what’s important to your candidates and document those personas.

Be sure you know what drives those candidates, what their typical backgrounds are, what they likely aspire to, what their education or military experience is, and what’s important to them in an employer.

6) Include targeted messaging on your career site.

Bring in that EVP and persona research into your career site. Consider what is important to those candidates, and then create relevant messaging and easily navigable career site pages so you are connecting directly with those candidates.

If you are looking for veteran candidates, ensure you have employee profile stories that they can relate to. Know your targeted audiences and create relevant messaging for those audiences to build personalized experiences that lead to conversions.

7) Track and analyze the candidate journey.

Nearly 72% of companies audited are failing in their candidate conversion efforts. This means that 3 out of 4 times, when a candidate starts to apply for a job, they won’t complete the process.

Do you know how many of your candidates actually ever see your career site or the great content and messaging you’ve invested in? It’s shocking how a quick investigation into the average journey of a candidate reveals how many candidates completely bypass the great EVP, messaging, and content that is available on career sites.

8) Personalize the candidate experience.

Engage candidates with chatbots and text. A recent Talemetry survey revealed that 43% of orgs are slow to incorporate emerging tech like SMS messaging. Email is slow, but texting is fast and responsive. Some have found that text delivers a 98% open rate, with a 90-second response time.

Also, provide personalized, tailored recruitment content. Ensure your candidate experience provides the same tailored experiences that Amazon and Netflix provide consumers. Your career site should recognize candidates when they visit and be able to promote recommended jobs as well as demonstrating your knowledge about the individual needs and interests of each job seeker.

For example, if a veteran was on your career site previously, the career site should recognize that. In future visits, present that candidate with talent networks, content, and messaging relevant to veterans.

Attracting, engaging and recruiting candidates in the federal space is hard. But, with the right tech, strategies, and approach, you can build pipelines of candidates to help drive your org’s success.

Learn how you can better recruit for federal contractor clients with Jobvite’s advanced ATS.

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