Artificial Intelligence in GovCon Recruiting

In recruitment, AI, specifically ChatGPT, has quickly gained popularity and become a household name. Even those who are not technically inclined are talking about it. If you are considering implementing Artificial intelligence in defense recruiting process, questions about cost, implementation, and compliance are likely at the forefront of your mind. In this article, we aim to demystify the hype and provide you with practical insights on incorporating AI products into your recruiting workflow without breaking the bank. 

Will AI Replace Your Internal Recruiting Team?  

While AI will not entirely replace your internal recruiting team, it has the potential to replace many of the repetitive and mindless tasks performed by modern-day recruiters. In the cleared space, recruiters will evolve into “cyborgs” of sorts, combining human expertise with robotic efficiency aided by machine learning, automation and yes… AI. Read on to discover which aspects AI will replace and what tasks will still require a human touch. 

Implementation Challenges 

We can say with a high level of certainty that the reason you are looking for potential AI solutions to improve your hiring is the same reason it will be difficult to implement them. It is a real catch-22. AI needs defined processes, clarity of requirements and execution of strategy to be successful, and these are 3 things most companies really struggle with when it comes to hiring. So, as a side note, we believe that Process > Technology and without a process/skills audit in hiring, implementing a new technical solution will be difficult. There is no doubt some tools exist that will have an immediate positive impact in your hiring efforts, but we advise you to be weary in any solution promising to automate your entire process from candidate screening to hiring.  

AI in Sourcing 

The hardest part of security clearance recruiting is finding passive talent to recruit that are not active on the popular job boards. For the record there is no difference in candidate quality between passive and active job seekers, I have just found that sometimes passive talent has less iron in the fire and a higher probability of accepting an offer. There are many products offering AI candidate sourcing with incredible accuracy and ease of use but I am just going to focus on one… LOXO 

How this works is Loxo maintains its own robust candidate database by continually scraping millions of data sources and cataloging the data. When you open a job, you can select the perfect profile of the candidate you are looking for with filters that make the match accurate. When you then open the job, within a minute the system provides you with a list of candidates from their database that matches your ideal candidate profile. You can then further refine the matches by approving or declining the AI candidates. This is all done in a matter of minutes and your team instantly has a list of passive candidates to start nurturing. This alone will save each recruiter at least half a day every day If used correctly. I am a huge fan of Loxo, but there are many products that utilize machine learning and “AI” to automatically source candidates, and yes…. even candidates with security clearances.  

Sourcing is a no brainer when it comes to where to invest your money on AI in the recruiting workflow. Sourcing candidates can be a time-consuming task, especially when searching for passive talent or niche skill sets. AI-powered sourcing tools can automate the process of candidate discovery and identification. These tools leverage machine learning algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data, including resumes, online profiles, and professional networks, to quickly find relevant candidates. This significantly reduces manual effort and saves recruiters valuable time. 

AI in Candidate Outreach  

I am fairly sure every recruiter at this point is leaning on ChatGPT to help with candidate emails, but even ChatGPT’s prompted outreach is underwhelming. I have tried various prompts with ChatGPT and still get the generic “I came across your profile and I am really impressed with your background.” It was not until I was recruiting a candidate who was a huge Rolling Stones fan that the lightbulb went off. “ChatGPT write an email to a REACT developer but only use titles from Rolling Stones songs.” BINGO!  

ChatGPT is an obvious choice for candidate emails, but there are many products on the market with exciting capabilities. Imagine being able to load up job description then have an AI product analyze a candidate list and write out personalized drip campaigns to each candidate in your funnel. Well, that exists.  

Candidate outreach is another place to take advantage of AI and Machine Learning to replace a very time-consuming part of every recruiter’s day… Multichannel outreach. AI solutions can facilitate outreach across multiple communication channels, including email, messaging platforms, social media, and texting. These tools can automatically engage with candidates through preferred channels and operate within user-defined parameters ensuring broader reach and increased response rates. This can also be taken further to include candidate follow-up and nurturing campaigns helping create a transparent process and great candidate experience.  

With sourcing and outreach heavily automated, your team can spend more time where they have the highest impact, on the phones.  


AI Scheduling 

Ok, this is where the market is really stretching when they consider scheduling software AI, but none-the-less it is highly effective at removing a repetitive task. If you have spent any time recruiting, you have seen just how difficult it is to coordinate a couple of calendars. Something so simple can really increase your time to fill by weeks. That is why this is a perfect place to utilize some convenient automation and there are many products on the market that are free, like Calendly. While some may argue that scheduling software is not strictly AI, its practicality makes it a worthy investment. 

Where not to spend your money 


AI chatbots may not be the best initial investment for most companies. Unless your website receives overwhelming traffic and inundates your recruiting team with questions, most companies face a lack of candidate flow rather than an overwhelming flood. Instead of AI chatbots, consider implementing screening questions within your applicant tracking system (ATS) or job application to manage candidates effectively.  

Compliance Concerns 

Let’s talk about compliance because I know HR (Human Resources) and legal are going to have a lot to say considering OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) and EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity). The compliance concern is reduced when using AI to reduce some repetitive tasks pre-funnel, or during the sourcing stage. These activities are typically related to creating awareness of job openings and trying to convert sourced candidates into active applicants and bring them into your ATS or place of record. However, at this part of the process there are compliance issues concerning data privacy as well as consent and opt-out which you should assure your solutions are following.  

Introducing AI for selection or assessments is where you will really run into trouble with potential bias and compliance. It is crucial to ensure that AI algorithms do not discriminate against candidates based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, or disability or introduce unintended bias simply though technological access. For any product you are implementing it is important to understand the potential impact or biases of the underlying algorithms. Employers must understand how AI algorithms make decisions, what data is considered, and the factors influencing candidate selection. This transparency is crucial for auditability, accountability, and addressing any potential legal or ethical concerns related to AI-driven decision-making. 

By strategically implementing AI solutions in top-of-the-funnel recruiting activities, companies can unlock the potential to improve efficiency, increase bandwidth, and enhance the overall effectiveness of their recruiting efforts. By leveraging AI tools in sourcing, candidate outreach, and scheduling, organizations can optimize their processes and provide a better experience for both recruiters and candidates. It’s important to navigate compliance concerns and ensure that AI solutions are implemented ethically and responsibly. With the right approach, AI can be a game-changer in the world of recruiting for defense contractors. 

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