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The Best Proposal Recruiting Options for Government Contractors

Posted on December 22, 2015
Ryan YelinekWritten by Ryan Yelinek | Email author

contract recruiting optionsProposal recruiting has a unique set of challenges.  There are direct costs associated with responding to an RFP and if done properly the payoff for an organization can be high.  Many firms have built a foundation from winning a single proposal.

A question I have been asked by business owners and executives of rapidly growing contractors is, “who do your turn to when you need to respond quickly to a proposal?” What are the options available to organizations who need support in recruiting for proposals?

The Best GovCon Proposal Recruiting Options

  1. Do you have an internal team who can manage the recruiting? Many corporate recruiters feel like they have a lot on their plate and are juggling the needs of many hiring managers at any given time. The idea of dropping all of their existing priorities to work on a proposal seems unrealistic to them. Many larger government contractors hire dedicated proposal recruiters to focus exclusively on the proposal and capture efforts of the organization so as not to disrupt the revenue stream from recruiting for funded roles. Many rapidly growing government contractors do not have this luxury.  In some cases, the capture team is tasked with helping out on proposal recruiting efforts.  Where do you turn if you do not have the internal resources necessary?
  2. Do you work with a staffing firm to help with recruiting?  You may have a staffing firm that helps you out from time to time with contract to hire roles and placements.  You could approach them about enlisting their help with proposal recruiting—but there could be an issue.  Until you have fully-funded roles, you are asking the staffing firm to work on contingency.  Few staffing firms will work on a proposal contingency.  If you have one that will help, you won’t have insight about their other priorities and can assume that they will focus most of their efforts where they are closer to the money.  Putting the possible success of your proposal or even your company in their hands doesn’t seem like the best option under these circumstances.
  3. Do you have a network of contract recruiters? Some organizations turn to external, contract recruiters(s) to help them when they need support. If you have a great network of trusted/vetted contract recruiters you can call on a moment’s notice, this may be a good option for your firm.  However, these recruiters may not be available when you need them for a proposal. 
  4. Work with experts in proposal recruiting.  Another option is working with an outsourced recruiting firm to help with proposal efforts. By using an RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) model, you are hiring the level of recruiting resources needed for your proposal effort.  Whether it is one recruiter or an entire team, the RPO model is flexible to scale up or down to meet a clients’ needs.  Recruiters are professionally trained to handle both cleared and non-cleared recruiting efforts with short deadlines.

Here at Helios, I have worked with a variety of clients on proposal efforts which have varied in number of roles, timing and clearance levels. Some of the work has been on a 2-3 day turn-around while other assignments have been longer term engagements to respond to multiple proposals.  These clients typically had some form of internal recruiting support, but when it came to recruiting for proposals, they did not have the internal capacity to respond to these efforts.  I was able to work with the capture and PM teams for the proposal efforts freeing their internal resources to continue to focus on recruiting for funded roles and internal hires.

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