It's always a good day when your company wins a big federal contract. That elation that comes with winning, however, is often followed by the uncertain feeling of, "How do we staff this?"
You know that recruiting can be challenging. That's especially so when it comes to recruiting for a federal contract project. Not only do you need to find candidates with the right education and skillset for the job, those potential employees have to meet strict federal requirements—and often need to have proper security clearance.
How can you best recruit and hire for that big federal contract project? Just like winning the bid, hiring the right staff requires doing a lot of homework.
Attract Top Contractor Talent for Hire
Develop Job Candidate Personas
The first step in attracting top candidates is to develop a candidate persona for each open position. A persona is a story-like description of the ideal person for that job, based on a variety of available data. The persona should include the model candidate's age, education, work experience, soft skills, career goals, personality traits, and more. Use the persona you develop to guide you towards the best-suited candidates for the job.
Target a Wide and Diverse Talent Pool
Where you look for talent determines the quantity and quality of candidates you discover. For staffing federal contracts, it's important to cast your net far and wide. Don't limit your search to a limited group of candidates; instead, think broad and diverse.
Assembling a diverse talent pool is not only key to identifying a larger group of candidates, it's also a requirement when dealing with the federal government. You want your candidate pool to include qualified candidates of all races, sexes, gender identities, and religions. You don't want to exclude anyone capable of doing a good job.
Find Talent in All the Right Places
To target a wide and diverse pool of candidates, you'll need to utilize a number of different recruiting sources. That includes local and national job boards, social media, and recruiting firms such as Quadrant that specialize in hiring for federal contractors.
Where can you find capable talent to staff your federal contract positions? While you can use traditional job boards, such as LinkedIn and Monster, they don't specialize in the types of positions you're staffing. You'll have better luck with job boards designed for candidates with government security clearances, including:
You should also look at sources closely related to the particular contract for which you're staffing.
Master the Hiring Process for Federal Contracts
Gathering a pool of candidates is just the first step in hiring for a federal contract project. You also have to convince qualified candidates to sign with your firm, which requires mastering the hiring process.
Keep Position Descriptions Crystal Clear
Candidates need to have a well-defined idea of what the open position consists of. Don't fudge on the details; clearly state, in appropriate detail, what the job entails and the necessary qualifications. Don't leave out anything of importance.
When stating qualifications, be precise. If you want someone with a specific degree, say so and don't generalize. If you want candidates to have a certain amount of work experience, state the number of years experience required.
Similarly, don't over-ask. Don't include a wish list of skills and experiences if they aren't really needed. Make the description exact to this specific position, not a list of general skills that don't apply.
Personalize the Candidate Experience
Candidates respond to a personalized experience. They don't want to feel as if they're part of a cattle call; they want to be treated as individuals.
To do that, you need to personally engage each qualified candidate. There are a number of ways to do this, including:
- Send personal text messages instead of generic emails
- Personalize all communications by addressing the candidates by name
- Respond quickly and personally to any candidate questions
- Provide a personalized log-in to your career site and present only relevant positions to each candidate
When you personalize the candidate experience you create a closer bond with each individual, easing the entire recruitment process.
Communicate Long-Term Development Opportunities
One sure-fire way to attract superior candidates for a federal contract project is to ensure candidates that they have a future with your firm beyond the current contract. That means providing long-term development opportunities to qualified candidates, and making sure candidates are aware of opportunities during the recruitment process.
Ideally, you want to provide candidates with a detailed career development plan. When you show candidates that they have a defined career path that starts with this project and continues beyond that, you'll attract a better class of candidates—and create a stronger pool of talent for future projects.
Include an EEOC Disclaimer
As a federal contractor, you must meet all guidelines set forth by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These include:
- Don't discriminate in any way, shape, or form
- Post EEOC posters in the workplace
- Keep detailed records documenting EEOC compliance
- File an annual EEO-1 Component 1 Report, along with accompanying data, that includes workforce demographic data
- Enable access to your records if investigated or evaluated for EEOC compliance by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
You're also required to include an EEOC disclaimer in all of your job postings and solicitations. This statement can be as simple as:
"Company Name is an Equal Opportunity Employer"
Or as detailed as:
"Company Name provides equal employment opportunities to all applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws."
Note that the second statement explicitly spells out the specific areas of potential discrimination. As society becomes more sensitized to various types of potential discrimination, this list could continue to grow.
Recruit and Hire with Confidence
Recruiting for a federal contract position is filled with challenges, including all the various rules and regulations required for government contract work. Doing the necessary homework in advance makes the job easier, however, as does utilizing a federal contract recruiting firm such as Quadrant. Make sure you follow these best practices:
- Develop candidate personas for each position
- Search for talent in the right places
- Write clear and detailed job descriptions
- Personalize the candidate experience—and provide long-term career development for top candidates
When you do all of these things, you make it easier to find and attract qualified candidates—which help you get started on that federal contract project that much quicker.
Let Quadrant Help You Recruit and Hire for Your Next Federal Contract Project
When you need to staff and hire for a new federal contract project, turn to the experts at Quadrant. Our Federal division offers a variety of innovative long- and short-term staffing solutions for government contractors, especially in the technology and healthcare sectors. We know how to hire for federal projects—we'll help you develop a large pool of qualified candidates and get the best candidates signed.
Contact Quadrant today for all your Federal staffing needs.