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3 Ways to Keep Candidates Engaged During Security Clearance

3 Ways to Keep Candidates Engaged During Security Clearance

Hiring somebody who needs security clearance? Here’s how to keep them engaged through the lengthy process and reduce your risk of candidate drop-outs.

Hiring within the defence sector? Be prepared for a potentially lengthy security clearance process. 

Multiple roles in the defence sector require a certain level of security sign-off before candidates can start their new role, ranging from background checks and interviews to assessments of family members, friends and romantic partners. 

This can take a considerable chunk of time. 

BPSS clearance can take 3 days to 3 weeks, while SC (Security Check), CTC (Counter-Terrorism Check), and DV (Developed Vetting) take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. 

What can make this process even more time-consuming is that clearance can’t be transferred between security agencies and the government. 

As a result, when you’re hiring for a role that requires security clearance, there’s always a concern that the new employee will become disengaged in the gap between the offer and the start date - or even find a new role. 

If you’re concerned about your candidates dropping out during the security clearance process, we’ve got you covered. We’ve pulled together 3 key steps that will help you keep candidates engaged - no matter how long the security clearance period takes. 

Keep in contact

Staying in regular contact with your candidate throughout the vetting process is a must. If they don’t hear from you for a while, they could become anxious and, in the worst-case scenario, begin searching for a new role.

Keep them in the loop at every stage of the process so they can rest assured that steps are being taken and that you’re still committed to moving forward. 

Regular emails should be enough to update them, but if the process is especially long, a phone call or short meeting would also be welcomed. One particularly effective method of maintaining engagement is providing the candidate with a personal contact at your organisation, who they can call with questions or for updates. 

Manage expectations

If there’s something that’s especially likely to make a candidate feel frustrated, it’s if the clearance process takes significantly longer than they were promised. 

While it’s tempting to tell a candidate that the clearance process will be quick in an attempt to keep them engaged, you’re doing more damage in the long run by setting them up for disappointment. 

Instead, be realistic about how log the process will take. If it could be up to 12 months, let them know, and give them a chance to ask questions. 

While a perceived lack of urgency is a major pain point for candidates, explaining to them why the checks are so important can help to quell frustration. 

Reiterate the benefits

It can be difficult, but maintaining momentum while your candidate waits to start their new role is crucial. To build excitement, remind the candidate of the benefits of working with your company and what they can expect if they’re accepted for the role.

By reiterating while they’re so suitable for the role, you’ll dissuade them from looking elsewhere in the time it takes to get cleared. 

Most candidates applying for security-cleared jobs know the risks involved and the length of time it tends to take. But to best avoid the possibility of them becoming disengaged or losing interest in the role, regular, clear, and transparent communication is key. 


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