Letter to the Editor

Make the people with security clearances want to work for you

If companies wait for the government to make the needed changes to speed up the security clearance process and alleviate the backlog, they will be left out of the abundant business that is the current government market. [Feb. 18 Web story, "Industry Coalition Calls for Security Clearance Improvements." Type 146 in the Quickfind box at www.washingtontech nology.com.]

Companies need to proactively recruit employees who already have the required clearances. As a public relations agency representing government service providers, we stress two courses of action for clients with clearance recruiting needs.

First, do an honest assessment of what you offer over the competition. This can best be accomplished by leveraging partner and customer success stories. For example, workers with security clearances are more likely to look at positions that will allow them to work on diverse, exciting and groundbreaking agency programs.

Second, use nontraditional outlets. Everyone will be posting job ads in The Washington Post and Decision Times, exhibiting at job fairs and participating in trade shows such as FOSE and E-Gov. Hold an industry reception where potential employees can get to know your company and partners in a social setting. Keep an eye out for retiring military and government employees looking to take their clearances to the private sector. Take full advantage of media outlets to demonstrate your success and momentum as a leading player in the government market.

If you want to be successful in this environment, you have to forge your own path. Yes, government needs to improve the security clearance backlog issue, but if you wait for it to fix the problem, chances are you won't be in business to reap the benefits.

Susan Gunther, vice president

Strategic Communications Group Inc.

Silver Spring, Md.

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