Most recruiters who need to hire job seekers with security clearance are aware of the basic approaches to clearance recruiting. There are well known job boards and job fairs specifically tailored to bringing cleared candidates and government or private sector contractors together. Of course, using these resources is an important part of any recruitment advertising strategy, but when careers websites and job fairs aren’t enough, there are a few more ways you can approach hiring with clearance in mind.

Appeal to Current Students and Recent Graduates

The average age of a government employee is 47 years old, but over one-third of the current job market consists of Millennials, and they are expected to make up 46% of the working population by 2020. These statistics are already affecting the pool of cleared job seekers, so being prepared to hire and manage a younger workforce is key. 

Millennials are more likely to be drawn to challenges that have tangible results, which includes successfully navigating the vetting process of security clearance. When communicating with younger workers, highlight the specific skills needed to make it through the clearance process, encourage them to rise to the challenge, and remind them that the reward is an in-demand clearance status. Also, giving current college students an opportunity to intern with your company allows you to gauge the skills of individual candidates and can give you confidence that a costly clearance sponsorship will be worth the time and investment.

Seek out Veteran Candidates

Veterans are a good fit for clearance jobs. Coming from the military, they appreciate and understand the importance of security. They are also accustomed to long vetting processes and know that paperwork takes time, so they are much more likely to be patient. And while some veterans may have higher salary needs than college grads, the skills they acquire during their military training makes them more likely to become successful long-term hires, which pays off in the end.

Reach out to Passive Candidates

For positions requiring specific skills, more experience or a higher level of clearance, consider reaching out to passive candidates, or those who currently may be working for a competitor. This approach requires a bit more strategy, as by nature these candidates are not seeking work. Their experience also makes them an in-demand candidate, so receiving unsolicited job offers is something they are used to – and something they are likely to ignore.

Avoid offering blatant requests for them to fill your open position. Instead, start conversations by focusing on them. Be up-front about how you came across their resume or profile and let them know that you’re interested in adding them to a no-commitment network. Build a rapport based on trust and common interests first. Then, if their skillset fits a specific open position at your company, ask them what kind of offer would make them consider taking it. This strategy is a valuable exercise. Even when a particular candidate doesn’t end up being a good fit for your current openings, it still helps build your network of talent for future needs. And that leads us directly to another important approach.

Build a Large Candidate Network

Any candidate you reach out to with clearance and a good skillset should become part of a growing network, regardless of whether or not you can offer them a position right away. Keep your company on their radar for future opportunities through ongoing candidate engagement strategies. When you eventually need to fill a position, you’ll already have a foot in the door and a positive presence with potential candidates.

Do you have security clearance recruitment needs? Share your thoughts in the comments section or drop us a line at conversations@jwt.com.

Olivia Landau lends expert knowledge and technical fluency on digital best practices, quality assurance, social media, knowledge sharing, email marketing, and popular internet culture.