Why Finding Cleared Talent is So Difficult

Did you know the number of Americans holding security clearances has dropped by nearly a million since 2013? It’s the perfect storm because the demand for talent with security clearances is at an all-time high and growing every year. Now add in an IT candidate with security clearance and you have a purple unicorn candidate that is extremely difficult to find. Cleared candidates can be mixed within a larger volume of non-security cleared talent, so it’s literally like finding a needle in a haystack. This blog will help you understand the inherent difficulties in finding security cleared talent and what you can do to improve the odds that you’ll find them.

Finding Security Clearance Candidates

We have some tips that may make it a little easier to find your own purple unicorns. Here are some best practices to even out the odds a little more:

  • Use keywords in your job description. In the same way we tell candidates to add keywords to their resumes, you should add keywords to the job ad. Use keywords in your job title and skills requirements and even in the description of the role.
  • Use military language. Military personnel is the obvious choice when looking for a security candidate. That’s because 58% of the security clearance candidates out there today do have security clearance. Use language they understand plus language that they may be searching for on a job board.
  • Seek out candidates that don’t have security clearance, but stand a good chance of eventually applying and getting cleared. You can do this by pre-screening your candidates for criminal convictions or use of illegal drugs—just to name a few. The good news is that processing times to get a candidate a new clearance have improved recently, so this option is becoming more viable.
  • Cast a wider net by diversifying your search. Post on some of the niche job boards that focus just on recruiting for security cleared candidates. Ask your employees for referrals. Use your social networks. Beat the bushes in every creative way you can think of to increase your chances.
  • Work with a recruiting team that specializes in security clearance candidates for your industry.

Blackstone Talent would like to be your staffing partner. We leverage all of the latest tools and have extensive networks of candidates who already have security clearance. Some of the best practices we leverage today include:

  • Using cleared employment sites to source candidates. Cleared employment sites are the perfect vehicle to find candidates.
  • Cleared employment events are great for branding your company as well as for meeting cleared candidates. Since COVID, these events have all moved online, but they are just as valuable.
  • General employment boards often have cleared candidates, you just have to find the time to hunt through the list. The only problem is that many candidates don’t have security clearance and you have to weed through them until you find the right fit.
  • Networking everyday to build upon our extensive list of cleared candidates. We know this is a moving target so our diligent effort on your behalf is what yields the best results.

Talk with our team today about how we can help your business find the right candidates to fit their goals.

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