Top 5 Mistakes When Partnering with Staffing Firms for Security Cleared Hires 

So you have decided to bring in an outside agency to help you with your cleared hiring needs. Not so fast, not all companies are created equal and there will be a lot of options throwing themselves at the opportunity to “work” your open positions. The cleared space is a tricky one with competition at an all time high for candidates with security clearances and it takes a niche provider to really accelerate your talent acquisition strategy. Working with the right partner can be tricky, but we have you covered. Read on for the 5 tips we recommend when partnering with staffing firms for security clearance hires. 

A competent and reliable staffing partner has the potential to  propel your company’s expansion but on the flip side, a misguided or ineffective partner can leave you spinning your wheels and squandering precious opportunities.  Thus, it becomes imperative to navigate the staffing landscape with caution and avoid mistakes commonly made by companies when working with staffing partners in the security cleared space.

By steering clear of these pitfalls, you can maximize your benefits and propel your company towards sustained success. 

Mistake 1: Hiring too Many Agencies 

One of the most common mistakes organizations make when partnering with staffing firms is working with too many agencies simultaneously. While it may seem like a good idea to cast a wide net to increase the chances of finding the best candidates, it can lead to inefficiency and confusion. A company might think, “well the more firms I have working on these the better, Right?” Wrong!  Working with multiple agencies can result in overlapping efforts, redundant candidate submissions, and difficulties coordinating the hiring process.  

Also, agencies have their ear to the ground and when they start to hear you are working with a handful of other firms, they might de-prioritize your positions. Really? YES REALLY! The direct hire staffing game is all about spending time where you see the highest return on investment and that is usually with exclusive clients. I am not saying to only use one firm, but it pays to be selective. A good firm can usually, within a day, get a sense of how many other recruiters are out there working the same req and adjust accordingly.

To avoid this mistake, it is essential to carefully select a few, or better yet, one firm that specializes in security cleared hires. By forming strategic partnerships with a limited number of agencies, you can streamline the hiring process, establish clear lines of communication, and ensure a focused and efficient search for qualified candidates.  

Mistake 2: Throttling Communication 

Clear and consistent communication is crucial when partnering with staffing firms for security cleared hires. However, some organizations make the mistake of throttling communication by providing limited feedback, or they fail to promptly respond to inquiries from the staffing firm.  

Effective communication involves providing detailed job requirements, offering constructive feedback on candidate submissions, and promptly addressing any questions or concerns. By maintaining open lines of communication, you can foster a collaborative relationship with the staffing firm, enabling them to better understand your hiring needs and deliver optimal results. No matter the company you are working with, the best situation is always mutually beneficial. 

Mistake 3: Assuming Big Name Firms Will Work Harder  

A common misconception is that partnering with big-name staffing firms guarantees better results. While these firms may have a strong reputation, they may not always exert the same level of effort or dedication as smaller, specialized agencies. Smaller staffing firms often possess industry expertise, niche knowledge, and a strong network of security cleared professionals. They are more likely to go the extra mile to understand your unique requirements and provide personalized attention to your hiring needs. Don’t overlook the potential of small businesses who are willing to do what it takes and deliver exceptional results.     

Mistake 4: Neglecting to Establish Clear Expectations 

Another mistake organizations often make is failing to set clear expectations with their staffing partners. It is crucial to clearly define the scope of work, desired outcomes, and timeline for the hiring process. By setting realistic expectations and communicating them effectively, you can ensure that you and your staffing company are aligned and working towards the same goals.  

Additionally, discuss key performance indicators (KPIs) and establish metrics for success. This will allow you to measure the effectiveness of the partnership and make necessary adjustments if needed.  

Mistake 5: Believing Companies Have a “Bench”  

There is no bench when it comes to talent in the government contracting space and anyone who tells you different is.. well… lying. How many emails have you gotten that state that a company has “consultants ready to work”? This is the greatest bait and switch of all time. While staffing firms may have a network of potential candidates, it’s important to understand that the availability and suitability of these candidates can vary. The reality is that the security clearance process can be complex and time-consuming, and finding candidates with the right level of clearance requires an extensive search.   

To overcome this mistake, organizations should approach the partnership with realistic expectations and understand that finding the right security cleared candidates may take time. Collaborate closely with the staffing firm to develop a tailored recruitment strategy that includes proactive sourcing, targeted advertising, and engaging passive candidates. By actively participating in the candidate search process, you can increase the likelihood of finding the best-fit candidates for your organization’s security cleared positions.   

Avoiding these common mistakes when partnering with staffing firms for security cleared hires is crucial to the success of your recruitment efforts. By recognizing that staffing firms may not have a ready-made bench, organizations can take a proactive approach to finding qualified candidates by maintaining clear communication, setting realistic expectations, and actively participating in the candidate selection process. With a strategic and collaborative approach, organizations can forge successful partnerships with staffing firms and secure the best security cleared professionals for their specific needs. 

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