Finding the right candidate with clearance is much harder than searching for a candidate without clearance. Here’s why.
You thought finding a technology candidate was hard. Trying to find a technology candidate with enough security clearance to work at the National Security Agency or Lockheed Martin. Most of the jobs with federal or private companies require some sort of security clearance allowing their workers to view classified documents. But finding these workers presents some unique challenges that take the idea of a needle in a haystack to a whole new level. This article will look at why this is such a challenge and how to overcome the problem.
What is Clearance Recruiting?
Recruiting security clearance employees is very difficult. There’s just a small pool of candidates available and they are highly coveted. These candidates don’t typically advertise their clearance levels, so searching for them on a job board is a mixed bag that doesn’t yield the kind of success you get when searching for a “standard” candidate.
Finding a security cleared candidate adds a level of complexity to the recruiting process. In addition to making sure the candidate has the right skills and fits culturally within an organization, you must also ensure their security clearance has the right grade and is up-to-date.
Organizations searching for security cleared candidates are inflexible about these requirements. For private companies, their government contracts are often tied to the number of securities cleared workers they have on the team. Certainly, the government has zero-tolerance for accepting a candidate without the right level of security. The challenge for recruiters is that they often find candidates that are perfect, meeting a high percentage of job requirements. But without the proper security clearance, the search becomes a wasted effort.
We see requirements for security level clearances beyond the technology field, too. While programming and cybersecurity are high on the list, there are job searches for custodians that require a security clearance. After all, someone needs to clean the top-secret labs the security cleared programmers works in! Interestingly, it gets harder to find a maintenance worker with security clearance. With programmers, you expect the designation to crop up periodically, even in a general candidate search. But finding a trades worker with a security designation is very difficult, too.
How to Find Security Cleared Workers?
It takes time to find security clearance employees. We’ve found the best way to source these candidates is through a prolonged day-in, day-out effort to build a quality pipeline of skilled workers. This is—and should be—a long-term proactive process that uses creative networking to build relationships. The best technology recruiting firms should do this difficult but rewarding work consistently every day. It’s a best practice that we highly recommend. It is also the best way to build a trusted group of security clearance workers for the most in-demand jobs for private, public, and government companies.
Speaking of trust, it is critically important when working with these high-quality candidates. These relationships are not built quickly, but over time, with a lot of patient effort and knowledge of the field. The reward is a steady pool of reliable contractors available for even the highest-level security roles.
Blackstone has the talent you’re seeking. We offer our clients access to a network of thousands of high-quality cleared employees. Make the call and find out why we’re different from standard search firms.