Federal recruitment has numerous challenges such as increased retirements, changing skill sets, and competition with the private sector, resulting in a general resource crunch — the impact of these challenges increases manifold when recruiting for a non-funded proposal position or a key personnel position. To recruit for such a position, one must maintain a good relationship with the Cleared candidates and the program/project manager and have knowledge and specialization in the federal hiring laws.
This blog provides Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) an understanding of the challenges encountered while recruiting for these positions and recommends ways to make the process more efficient and effective.
Challenges Faced by SMBs
Here are the six key challenges that SMBs face while recruiting Cleared candidates for proposal positions:
- Incomplete Information Regarding the Job Requirements: It can be discouraging for a recruiter to find a potential Cleared candidate and lose the candidate due to the lack of information regarding the roles, responsibilities, and compensation packages. Cleared candidates are very particular about the requirements and want to get as much information from the recruiters as possible.
- Identifying Key Roles and Submitting Quality Candidates: While bidding for a federal contract, key personnel play a vital role in winning the contract. Identifying the Cleared candidates with niche skills is challenging, especially when looking for candidates willing to work and participate in the projects or contracts yet to be awarded.
- Competition Among Contractors: A large number of Federal contractors bid on the same proposal. Every contractor has a recruitment team that works tirelessly to find potential and viable candidates for the proposals. However, it reduces the chances of winning and increases the uncertainty of the bid being awarded.
- Keeping the Cleared Candidates Warm: The Cleared candidates have different offers in the pipeline, and it is challenging to keep these candidates warm until the proposal is awarded. There is a strong possibility that the candidates might accept the other offer and pass up the opportunity. Since the candidates are uncertain about the proposal, they usually accept the contingent offer and continue to look for alternatives.
- Signing the RTR, LOI, and LOC Documents: RTR (Right To Represent) is a document that authorizes SMBs to represent a Cleared candidate to the end client. LOI (Letter Of Intent) is the consent of the Cleared candidate to use the resume for the required positions. Finally, LOC (Letter Of Commitment) is a promissory document or a binding agreement between the client and the Cleared candidate. The Cleared candidates are always hesitant to sign these (RTR, LOI, and LOC) documents because they believe it is an agreement that will hamper their chances of pursuing other opportunities. As a result, convincing the candidates to sign these documents before submitting them for the proposal is pretty challenging.
- Preferring Funded Positions over Proposal Positions: The candidates are often less enthusiastic about the proposal positions than funded positions. Funded positions have the advantage over proposal positions as they have all the necessary information for these positions, such as compensation, performance, location, duration of the contract, and the actual start date. Most candidates who are unemployed or actively looking for opportunities do not consider the proposal positions because of the uncertainty of employment.
7 Best Practices for Managing the Challenges:
SMBs may follow the procedures outlined below to create an effective recruiting strategy and find the ideal candidates for the proposal positions.
- Attractive Job Descriptions: Working on the proposal position yet to be awarded is difficult; businesses should draft a job description that attracts the Cleared candidates and explains how it matches their skill set and experience. An ideal job description should give brief information about the federal contractor and highlight the roles and responsibilities, required qualifications, clearance, compensation package, location, place of performance, and contract duration.
- Identifying Proper Skill Set: When working on roles that require clearance, businesses should always consult with a specialist who is familiar with the position and can develop a set of questions to ask candidates before submitting their applications. It will assist them in presenting the ideal candidate for the position.
- Determine the Impact on Professional Development: Businesses should always communicate the company’s vision and client’s mission to the Cleared candidates to give them an understanding of the type of environment they’ll be working in and how they will contribute to the project’s success. Candidates should be advised on how the project will help them grow professionally and financially and how it will help them enhance their overall experience and skills.
- Previously Contacted Candidates: SMBs should consider the Cleared candidates they have previously contacted for the proposal opportunities. They are already aware of their skill matrix, professionalism, salary expectations, and the best approach to contact them. Additionally, the company has a cordial relationship with them, which makes it easier to collaborate with them and secure the proposal opportunity.
- Scheduling Weekly Calls with the Candidates: The Cleared prospects must be kept warm by making a weekly phone call. Staying in touch with the candidates is important so that, even if the company does not win the proposal, they can try to reach out to them in the future for any proposal opportunities. Additionally, it’s crucial to keep the Cleared candidates informed of the proposal’s progress and give them periodic updates, so they feel more invested in the procedure.
- Creating a Pipeline: The candidates should be encouraged to consider the opportunity deeply, as things may go south at any time; therefore, it is always preferable to have other offers in the pipeline. Furthermore, various factors may impact or change the candidates’ decisions over time because the actual start date of the proposal position is uncertain.
- Getting Referrals: SMBs need to ask whether any of the prospect’s friends, coworkers, or family members might be seeking other opportunities or are interested in a comparable role when the candidate is not interested in the opportunity or is not readily available in the job market. It will allow them to contact a qualified and enthusiastic candidate.
Proposal recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint. To attract high-quality Cleared candidates, one must develop meaningful relationships, build connections, and be updated on the latest trends. That’s why we’re committed to guiding the small businesses through each step of the proposal recruitment. iQuasar has been in the federal recruitment business for over a decade. We have a dedicated team of specialists having experience in Proposal Writing, Cleared recruitment, working on the proposal positions, and identifying viable candidates that help the federal contractors win the proposals.