4 Talent Acquisition Tips for Government Contractors

May 26, 2021 by Verified First

4 Talent Acquisition Tips for Government Contractors

It’s no surprise that finding talent is becoming increasingly difficult for government contractors. According to Deltek, 73% of talent acquisition professionals in the government contracting industry find it challenging to recruit and retain qualified talent. Growing competition, both online and onsite, provides copious career opportunities for candidates to choose from. As we see younger generations enter the contracting space and shift workplace dynamics, building talent pipelines for the future is imperative. To help you build your pipeline, here are some tips for finding top talent in the government contracting space. 

Build an attractive employer brand strategy

Before engaging candidates, it’s important to know what your company has to offer and how that aligns with what your candidates are looking for. Now more than ever, people want to work somewhere that resonates with purpose. Big brands dominating their industries have established esteem, rapport, and purpose. Oftentimes, individuals aspire to work for companies like these because of their well-known and robust brand identity. However, government contractors often forget to consider brand when recruiting and retaining the newer generations.

To build your talent pipeline, focus on how candidates will perceive your brand, now and in the future. Deltek suggests increasing candidate awareness of company offerings before a candidate even submits their resume. Creating an effective employer brand strategy (1) builds relationships with prospective candidates and (2) entices them to apply for open positions.

When creating your employer brand strategy, ask yourself:

  • Who are we now? Who do we want to be?
  • What is going to attract the next generation of talent?
  • What are the monetary and non-monetary rewards we offer? 
  • What makes us stick out as an employer?
  • What purpose/mission will resonate with our desired talent pool?
  • What values do we want to uphold as a company?
  • What kind of company culture do we want to create/reinforce? 

Your brand matters, even during the hiring process. Incorporating Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tools can impact your ability to engage your talent pipeline. When screening candidates, put your brand first and give them a positive experience with features like texting

Refine your recruitment strategy 

The top challenges affecting talent acquisition in the government contracting industry are (1) the availability of good candidates, (2) attracting better-qualified talent, (3) matching qualified talent to open positions, and (4) improving time-to-fill. To find qualified individuals who fit the bill, analyze your open positions and identify/refine your recruitment strategy.

To recruit better quality talent, consider:

  • Intentional job boards. Hone in on the places your candidates spend the most time in. In episode four of our HR at the Table webinar series, Prestige Care’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Blake Thiess, expressed how vital it is to cast your bait in the ponds your fish swim in. Narrowing in on your candidate pool helps attract the type of quality candidates needed for the position.
  • Eliminating bottlenecks. The average time to fill in the contracting space is 31-60 days. An unrefined acquisition process can cost a company the right talent because of the wrong time. Outsourcing your recruitment process or integrating your recruitment tools can help eliminate internal bottlenecks.
  • Increasing employee referral incentives. No better brand ambassadors than employees themselves! Referral incentives allude to an employee’s alignment with the organizational mission by their willingness to promote job opportunities to their own network.
  • Rebranding. As we see generational shifts in the government contracting industry, it’s imperative to understand the needs and demands of the new talent pool and rebrand your talent acquisition strategy accordingly. 

Without knowing where to look and what to offer, your talent acquisition strategy will struggle. 

Compete with compensation

Now that you’ve attracted your ideal candidate, ask yourself, ‘what factors will cause them to consider another employer after an offer has been made?’ 

People like to say that ‘money isn’t everything,’ but compensation packages can be the difference between recruiting, retaining, and engaging top talent against the competition. Competing with compensation is a top challenge for talent acquisition professionals, especially when searching for high-demand, highly specialized roles in government contracting.

To beat the competition, analyze benchmarking compensation data every year. Consider: 

  • Cost of living 
  • Location of employees
  • Compensation packages offered by other government contractors
  • Compensation packages for similar roles outside of government contracting

Focus on the employee experience 

Finding top talent is great, except when you can’t retain them. Deltek found that 39% of TA professionals claimed retaining top talent as one of their biggest HR management challenges. Expired contracts, generational shifts, or recruiting from other businesses all impact retention.

Employers must consider the entire employee journey when identifying what type of experience they want their employees to have. 

Despite the HUGE benefits of implementing employee engagement initiatives, they’re often forgotten about. In fact, 69% of employee engagement surveys take place in exit interviews/surveys! 

Tying post-hire engagement initiatives to employer branding can attract more candidates and build your talent pipeline. 

Employers with successful post-hire engagement initiatives are sure to:

  • Create a supportive environment that fosters growth
  • Offer career development programs
  • Facilitate continuous feedback between employees and managers
  • Recognize the importance of executive buy-in
  • Participate in employee recognition programs
  • Reinforce the company’s purpose/mission through company culture

Engaging employees throughout their lifecycle increases loyalty, retention, and productivity, which in turn increases profits and protects your bottom line.


The right talent is truly the greatest asset to government contractors today. The key to remaining competitive is being open to change. As we see a generational shift in government contracting, restructuring your employer brand strategy, including initiatives pre-and post-hire, is crucial to building a candidate pool interested in your company.  

To build your pipeline, remember to: 

  1. Build an attractive employer brand strategy.
  2. Refine your recruitment strategy.
  3. Compete with compensation.
  4. Continue post-hire engagement.

To make time for value-added initiatives, like employer branding, allow us to fulfill all your background screening needs with our seamless, one-click integration with Deltek!

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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