The Biggest Recruiting Challenges You Face

Posted by Kathleen Smith
recruiting challenges

We all think that our challenges are our own and unique. Maybe we think that some of our competitors – other companies competing for the same kind of talent – have better tools, better compensation, better benefits. The reality is our challenges are very similar across our community and it’s our perspective that can change failure into success. 

On our podcast series, Security Cleared Jobs: Who’s Hiring & How (if you want to be on it, here’s how), we talk to recruiters about their cleared openings, company culture, and other information of interest to our cleared listeners. We’ve also taken the opportunity to ask our guests our favorite bonus question: What is your biggest recruiting challenge and what tools or skills do you use to overcome this?

A very simple question, but the answers have been very surprising. Here’s a few so you can learn from your peers how to overcome similar challenges.

Mike Giovanetti

I wish I could remember the number I read in an article earlier in the week about how many open positions there are versus cleared personnel to be able to do those positions, and the upside down-ness in the level of difference between openings versus people is astronomical.

So the way that I’m trying to solve it — because we all know that the normal response to why people are leaving is more money, right? Like everybody’s leaving for more money. Everybody’s leaving for remote opportunities. And those two things are true, but I don’t think it’s as big of a discrepancy as we are being told it is, or that people think that it is.

If you work at a place with people you like, doing a thing you like or thing you love, you will stay in that for a really, really long time. And you will do a great job if what you are doing provides you satisfaction, even if that thing doesn’t pay that well. “Pay that well” is kind of a little bit understated, but you know, “doesn’t pay the top end, doesn’t pay you 50k more than what you’re making today.”

If what you’re doing provides you satisfaction, you will stay there for a long time, or if who you are doing it with provides you satisfaction. That’s another thing that is a key component to keep people for a longer period of time.

So, for me, that’s what we’re trying to do at Axiologic Solutions. That’s what I’m trying to do with my team specifically, even on a recruiting side, because we’re not immune to attrition, right? Like there’s not a golden thing that says, my recruiters are gonna stay with me forever. I will do my best to make that happen, but at the same time, it’s one of those things where I’m going to be able to build and try to create a culture where folks are going to be drawn to me, to my organization and hope for the best when the rest of the things start to happen.

Hear more from Mike here >>

Jen Riemenschneider

As you can imagine with the various types of roles we look for, with the geographically dispersed environment that we’re recruiting in, we certainly use tools like ClearedJobs.Net and others. But I think it’s really critical to engage with people, have conversations.

It’s amazing how much you’ll uncover from having a conversation with somebody versus just reading a resume. And I think that’s really important, especially in the cleared world.

I joke with my hiring managers a lot that you might want five words, but you may only be able to see two or three of those, and let’s talk to them. The recruiters are going to talk to the candidates too, before they get in front of a hiring manager, because you may uncover just through conversation and connecting the dots, that we’ve got a match.

I find that true, not just in the cleared world, but even in the uncleared world. It’s really important to engage with people and have those conversations because, when you’re writing a resume, there’s no way in a couple pages you can really put everything that you’ve done on there. You’ve got to pick the highlights. But what’s important to that person, and then what’s important to the end hiring manager might be different, and you may find those matches through conversations. So I think that’s critical.

Hear more from Jen here >>

Tom Smith

I think that’s a great question, and asked a year ago, I think I would have had no choice but to default to: we don’t have the right funding to buy into this right database; we don’t have the right licenses for this right process – it’s going to automate this portion of it and find it faster and it’s going to automatically align the minimum qualifications and pre-vet people before we interview.

That would have been my answer a year ago, but I don’t think that’s really the truth, at least for us. I think time, time alone is the most difficult challenge to recruiting because again, we’re not hiring for minimal requirements. We’re not chasing low bid body work. We are in technical expertise areas that we are going after. We are working efforts and associated candidates that can make a difference for the nation, for our company, and hopefully for themselves. And you simply can’t do that quickly.

You combine that with constraints of everybody involved. To your point earlier about me attending every interview, it’s not just me. We’ve got a whole team of JCTMers carving out hours and hours that have given days to want to take time to meet with every single potential candidate, because they’re either going to come wear the color purple and be one of us, or they’re not, and that matters.

So how do we overcome it? I don’t think it’s a tool or a skill set. I think it goes back to our values – we bond together, we have the strength in numbers, we rely on each other. And we’re willing to go ahead and schedule that interview for 5pm because that’s when person A can finally get out of location B to meet with the rest of the team. And that’s really what it comes down to, a willingness to go above and beyond to support each other.

Hear more from Tom here >>

Jada Fowler

One of the ways I’m always challenging myself is to be better at building talent pipelines that are easily accessible. And so for example, when we have one position, I’m looking at lots of profiles that may not be qualified for that position, but I certainly want to filter for future roles. And then from there in turn, creating proactive communication. It’s not always after a job is posted, but I’m establishing that relationship before the job is open.

And so like ClearedJobs for example, when we go in to search resumes, there’s a folder there where I can easily put Java Software Developers and just saving that resume in there. I may not need it for this position, but I may want it for future positions.

So it’s a discipline, because when you have several positions open and it’s fast and furious to get that one applicant for this one position, it can take time to go back and say, okay, I’m going to file this one there, this one here, and this one there. So having that easily accessible talent pipeline to be able to do proactive communication is something I’m working on right now.

Hear more from Jada here >>

Jess Mathias

Oh man, it’s a war on talent right now. I think we all know that. So I think the hardest part is the sheer competition among companies. And so how do you stand out? And the way that we are trying to stand out is, it kind of goes back to that personal touch. So we are very transparent. Are we perfect? No. But we try to, if you apply, and we want to talk to you, we call you. I want to set up a phone interview and call you.

We’re calling candidates at every single stage, because there’s a huge difference between getting a phone call and talking to someone, versus I got another email from a recruiter. So we try to be very personable.

And then along the way, we actually try to get feedback as well. So, the way I look at it is that when a candidate doesn’t get a position, it’s very personal to them. It’s a business decision for us, but it’s very personal to them. So we have to treat them as humans. And so if let’s say someone doesn’t have a specific skill set, we’ll go back to them and say, here’s why you didn’t get this position, work on this and let’s keep in touch.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hired someone six months later, a year later, a year and a half later, because we kept in touch. It wasn’t the right fit or the right job at the time, but we’re gonna get you there.

Hear more from Jess here >>

Meg Duba

Persistence is the tool that I use to overcome it. You have to have a tenacity like no other. Recruiting is the only job, the only sales job that I know of where your product has an opinion and the ability to lie, say no, or people-please or whatever.

So you have to be able to look past that and love the win so much that the 90% failure rate is not going to deter you from continuing on.

Hear more from Meg here >>

So there you have it, just a taste of the biggest recruiting challenges your peers are experiencing and how they are overcoming them. Want to hear more insights from our podcast or guest star on an upcoming episode? Find more information at


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2023 12:05 am

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