Recruiting In Top Secret: The Five Rules For Finding Candidates With Security Clearance

Rule 1: LinkedIn Isn’t Going To Cut It.

  • Do roles like this typically require a security clearance?
  • Does the company the candidate works for currently have open positions on their career page where a security clearance is a job requirement?
  • Can you reasonably assume that this candidate most likely has a security clearance at some level to do this particular job for this company?

Rule 2: Use The Right Tools.

Rule 3: Know Your Military Branches, Bases, Units, And Departments Of The Government.

  • Recognize which military bases are relevant to your client’s projects and seek out their transition assistance programs.
  • Build relationships with military personnel through your outreach. Remember, the first candidate you reach may not be your perfect “camouflage unicorn” candidate, but they have a network of qualified colleagues with security clearances. When they begin to decide to “retire or re-enlist,” you’ll want to be the first person they think of.
  • Government employees are typically visible online, and their contact information is readily available. An educated guess can be made about their security clearance based on where they work in the government (DoD, Intelligence, etc.).
  • Government contractors are typically required to file their information. You can use this information to identify their employees who are not on LinkedIn or other aggregator sites.

Rule 4: Understand Your Candidate.

  • Multiple companies can be working on the same project, so you may not be offering your client anything new and different from his/her current role.
  • Be sure you know your candidate’s security clearance level.
  • A candidate could have their clearance level lowered if the job only requires “confidential” clearance, but they have a higher TS or TS/SCI clearance level. Bear in mind that some candidates may not be interested in opportunities below their current clearance. However, the higher the clearance level, the more restrictive a person’s life can be. So, you might find that some candidates may be willing to consider a lower clearance level position to have more personal freedom. Money, location, lifestyle, and opportunity are all factors that could lead to a candidate considering a role with a lower security clearance.

Rule 5: Educate Yourself. Start With These Resources.



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Chris Murdock

Chris Murdock

Chris is the Co-Founder & Senior Partner at IQTalent Partners, a professional service firm focused on finding, assessing and hiring key talent for teams.