This is Part II of our discussion with Kathleen Smith, Chief Marketing Officer of ClearedJobs.Net. ClearedJobs.Net is a veteran-owned niche Job Fair and Job Board Company focused on the defense and intelligence communities providing resources for security cleared job seekers and cleared facilities employers for recruiting and job search. Recently, the company started a companion site CyberSecJobs.Com focused on the non-cleared cyber security community. You can read Part I here.
Q: Clearly demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to be high. In which specific areas and job functions have you seen the greatest increase in demand for security-cleared personnel?
A: No one can argue that there has been a lot written about the talent shortage in cyber security talent and this extends to the security cleared community. One thing that hinders recruiting in cyber security is that there are so many cyber security myths. Cyber security impacts all sectors of the security cleared community and as we become more in tune with what cyber security really means, we learn that all job functions have some cyber security component.
As the list of government agencies that have been hacked grows, the security cleared personnel needed to protect these agency’s assets will grow further. However while there has been a lot of focus on the hacks of intelligence agencies and OPM, agencies that monitor and regulate the banking, health and energy sectors are also having a difficult time finding security cleared professionals who also have knowledge of Sarbanes Oxley or nuclear energy regulations.
The hardest jobs to fill are those that combine a technical knowledge with business or policy acumen. As cyber security permeates every aspect of our daily lives, having cyber security professionals who have the technical expertise as well as an understanding of the impact on business or policies are in high demand. This is clearly a career path that I frequently mentor many early cyber security professionals to consider: combining their technical knowledge with business methodologies and understanding.
Q: For security-cleared professionals, which certifications are popular in 2016? Are there any “up and coming” certifications that appear to be gaining cachet among the talent acquisition community?
A: Until certain federal requirements change, the DoD 8570 will be at the core foundation for the group of certifications a security cleared professional working in cyber security will need. Data scientists and data analysts are an increasing need within the security cleared community as the government gathers and processes more data. More data means a need for more professionals with C, C++ and Python, as well as an ability to utilize Apache Hadoop and MongoDB.
Q: Do you believe the establishment of the National Background Investigations Bureau addresses the root causes of the problems plaguing the federal security clearance system?
A: The federal security clearance system has needed an overhaul for some time. Legislators and administrators have been asking for this even before the OPM breach. Unfortunately we are looking at an overhaul that appears to be more window dressing rather than looking at key infrastructure changes. We will be further hampered by this being an election year.
Beyond the basic premise of a security clearance investigation and adjudication, we still have a suitability issue which is at the heart of security clearance reciprocity challenge. The government processes hundreds of thousands of security clearances each year, however, the cleared workforce is not able to transfer from one agency to another. We are losing diversity along with the security cleared workers. Each agency has its mission to uphold and in order to get a security clearance to work in each agency of these agencies we have differing standards of what is necessary to get a clearance. We either make reciprocity happen or we change the basic premise of what it means to have a security clearance.
If we are looking for a way to get more cyber security professionals into federal employment, the first step is to overhaul the USAjobs.gov site. Government contractors have a very distinct advantage in competing for talent in the cyber security and cleared communities if they adhere to good recruiting practices that treat candidates with respect and professionalism.
Q: Does ClearedJobs.Net offer talent acquisition solutions for both small and large government contractors?
A: Many people believe that recruiting is very straightforward when it actually is a multi level process that is in constant motion in order to secure a company’s success especially in the security cleared community. There is employer brand building which complements the branding and advertising that a company would deploy to secure business opportunities but focuses on the benefits of working with your company. This can be done through blog articles and social media which are then shared with our community.
Another component is building a talent pipeline of candidates which can be done through searching our resume database and attending a Cleared Job Fair. Many recruiters come from different backgrounds and not all have the same recruiting training. Our customer service team schedules monthly individual training with our customers to assist them to develop the correct searching strategies to meet their current and future workforce requirements. Our team also sends monthly reports so that our customers can evaluate the strategies that best work for them. At our Cleared Job Fairs, providing an overall high quality experience for both employer and job seeker is important to us. Our job seekers have consistently rated their experience as 99% positive and our employers share that they always find candidates to hire immediately at our events. We are the only job fair company with a Best Recruiter program where the job seekers vote for the recruiters who provide the best overall recruiting experience.
Finally for we provide job posting services including automatic posting of companies job requirement and assistance in developing the optimal job posting for an open position. What our customer like most about working with ClearedJobs.Net is our flexibility to create talent acquisition packages that meet their needs. We do not require a 12 month contract, but rather offer 1, 3, 6 and 12 month contracts for a variety of packages that can include resume database licenses, job postings and job fairs.
Q: If a contractor is interested in learning more about the benefits of an account with ClearedJobs.Net, what is the best way to connect with your company?
A: We have a great team that is happy to provide companies with solutions to their talent acquisition challenges in the security cleared and cyber security communities. Our account managers all have recruiting backgrounds to help our customers build the plan that best meets their needs. The best person to contact is Carter Goodnough.