Recruiting and staffing is a challenging and rewarding career path, as it is a position that helps individuals land new job opportunities that can impact the rest of their lives. It involves researching and reaching out to professionals, preparing individuals for interviews, guiding candidates through the hiring process, negotiating salaries and benefits, and more.
However, how does this change when a recruiter looks to fill job vacancies for government projects, compared to commercial projects or companies? To learn about these differences, we sat down with Anuradha Rao from EPS Corporation to record an insightful podcast episode on the topic. Anuradha is a Sr. HR & Talent Acquisition Manager with more than 20 years of experience in human resources and recruiting. Throughout the last four years, Anuradha has been focusing her efforts on recruiting for federal government projects, so she is exceptionally well versed in the differences between recruiting for government and commercial job positions. Discover the unique requirements that candidates must meet when pursuing roles on government projects.
Government projects require candidates to have the proper clearances to be considered for the job. Clearances are a determination by the government that grants a person eligibility to access classified information. Therefore, one of the first steps a recruiter takes when recruiting for a government project is verifying whether the candidates possess the correct clearances for the job position, as there are numerous types of clearances.
Furthermore, one of the most significant dilemmas with clearances is the length of time the process takes. Anuradha states that it currently takes around a year and a half for individuals to obtain the proper clearances for the types of federal jobs she is tasked with recruiting. This lengthy process has led to a shortage of qualified workers since the demand for individuals with these clearances is high, but few people have gone through the process of acquiring them.
United States federal projects take place across the globe in countless countries. Therefore, when projects occur in countries outside the U.S., it is highly beneficial for the worker to know the country’s official language where they are stationed. This allows the workers to effectively communicate with native personnel who may also be working on the project, leading to a smoother workflow and better project results.
Additionally, speaking the native language makes adapting to new living situations easier since individuals can communicate with the local citizens in their everyday lives. This leads to happier and more satisfied employees since they do not have to worry about a language barrier impeding their day-to-day lives. So, whether that looks like bargaining prices at the local market or figuring out how to enroll a child in daycare, knowing the official language is highly beneficial.
As with most jobs, positions on federal projects require unique skills that are learned through experience. However, recruiters for government projects commonly come across candidates that do not have the required experience listed on their resume but are actually qualified for a position. This is often because government positions require unique and niche skillsets that candidates may not think to include on their resume. Therefore, recruiters have to routinely speak with potential candidates to uncover the other aspects of their experience to see if they will be a good fit for the role.
Suppose a recruiter speaks with a professional and they discover the candidate has the appropriate experience. In that case, the recruiter will often work with the candidate to edit their resume, so it communicates the desired skills and experience. Moreover, a crucial aspect of identifying candidates with the right skills is knowing the industry-specific lingo that potential candidates use on their resumes or in conversations. Understanding the jargon helps recruiters quickly sort through candidates and recognize when a candidate might possess the necessary expertise or has transferable skills.
Sourcing qualified candidates is a significant hurdle for recruiters staffing for government projects. To find candidates that have experience working on government projects and have the necessary clearances, recruiters often look in designated spaces for government employees. For example, Anuradha has identified around 55 organizations that work with veterans, and she emails them monthly with job openings she is looking to fill. These organizations will then post these openings on their website or send them out to their members, thus providing Anuradha with a list of promising, qualified candidates.
Furthermore, Anuradha mentions additional methods of sourcing candidates that prove successful, including employee referral programs and participating in outreach programs. Anuradha holds several outreach program sessions per month where she helps transition service members out of the military and into the next phase of their life. These sessions accumulate a pool of candidates with various skills that have prior experience working for the government while also possessing clearances.
While recruiting for commercial and government projects is not entirely different, unique circumstances exist when recruiting for federal positions. It is essential to recognize and prepare for these conditions if an individual wishes to recruit for government projects or is a professional that desires to land a position on a government project.
If you are interested in more content in the realm of recruiting, conquering the job search, career advice, and more, be sure to check out our other InnerView podcasts here.