At each Cleared Job Fair, we receive a wide variety of requests by company representatives to put the clearance levels on the nametags of the job seekers. There are many reasons that we do not do this, but the primary reason we do not do this is that it is the job seeker’s choice to do this or not, just as it is their choice to put their name, first or last on their name tag.
The job seeker is our customer and making sure that they have a good experience is important to us. We have heard from many job seekers that at other events, recruiters won’t even talk to them because they don’t have the right level of clearance listed on their name tag.
Specifically, below are seven specific reasons as to why we do not put the clearance level on the name tags at our events:
1. A job fair is about recruiting candidates into a company’s pool of candidates to pull from now and into the future. By not taking advantage of talking to all the candidates that approach a company’s booth, they are not taking full advantage of the investment that they have made in paying for the space and sending company representatives. A company may be recruiting for one type of clearance now, but this may not be the clearance level that they will need 3-6 months from now.
2. A job fair, unlike a print ad, is an opportunity to interact with job seekers so that the job seekers get an opportunity to learn more about the company, and interact with company representatives. This is relationship selling and brand building which will go a long way in building that company’s brand within the job seeker community. By not talking to candidates that approach a company’s booth just because they don’t have the right clearance indicated on their name tag, a company representative has just devalued that company’s brand in the eyes of many individuals which will spread this negative impression throughout the job seeker community.
3. Bad experience for job seekers: If a company chooses not to talk to candidates because they don’t have the right clearance, and down the road the candidate does get the clearance, this candidate will remember this bad experience with that company and not want to pursue their career opportunities.
4. A clearance is something that the job seeker has earned. It is their right to share it as they choose and many are counseled by their FSO’s not to share it publicly at all, even on their resume.
5. Lack of clearance verification: Job fair companies cannot verify clearances.
6. Candidates don’t always post or share their accurate clearance level: Many candidates, if pushed to put a clearance on their name tag, will only put a TS when they in fact have something higher. The company has just lost out on talking to this person if they chose only to talk to those with high clearances.
7. Opportunity cost: By putting a “defining statement” on a nametag, and having our customers/employers only talk to candidates based on this “defining statement” we are supporting discrimination.
If a company is going to invest in a job fair rather than an ad or job posting, especially since it is more effective, they should take full advantage of talking to the candidates who express an interest in talking to them. It is a 5-minute investment that could pay off 10 fold in the future, but if they chose to ignore a candidate this could hurt them 50 fold in the future by bad word of mouth.