It won’t come as a surprise to most cleared professionals or hiring managers – despite improvements in clearance processing times, companies still prefer to hire already cleared candidates.
This is good news for professionals who already have clearances, bad news for those who don’t or who are anticipating needing a higher-level clearance at some point in their career. Inconsistency in adjudication makes hiring an already-cleared candidate a savings of time and money for employers.
“Improved wait times must be accompanied by consistency to substantially change recruiting practices,” said Evan Lesser, founder and Managing Director of ClearanceJobs.com. “While we’ve seen advancements, Top Secret clearances are still taking two to three times as long as Secret clearances for end-to-end processing. Even within clearance levels, hiring managers tell us wait times are haphazard and without rhyme or reason.”
As the defense contracting market gets tighter and competition gets more fierce, expect demand for already-cleared talent to actually rise. When new contracts are won, companies will need to fill slots quickly, and not wait what could be months for a final clearance adjudication for new employees.
If you don’t have a clearance and are interested in cleared work, all isn’t lost – here are a few tips for breaking in. For recruiting professionals looking for already cleared talent or to better deal with inconsistent waiting times, here are a few additional tips.