Book a no-obligation call with a Helios HR consultant

By: Helios on December 14th, 2015

Print/Save as PDF

Common Proposal Recruiting Problems in GovCon & Tips for RFP Success

Talent Acquisition

Frequently, we receive calls from government contracting leaders who are frustrated with the process of recruiting for proposals and are looking for a better solution.  

Often recruiters have been spending weeks building candidate pipelines for funded roles, and it can be challenging to suddenly shift priorities and focus on proposal recruiting. In addition, with a shorter time frame, leaders depend on recruiters to produce results quickly and rarely feel that they are receiving the results they expect.

As a Practice Director of Talent Acquisition leading responses to federal RFPs at Helios and former employers, I understand how dissatisfying this can be to both recruiters and leaders.

Here are the five most common problems we see during these scenarios and how to avoid them to successfully recruit for your next big proposal.

The 5 Biggest Problems with Proposal Recruiting

  1. Quality of Information:  Typically, the amount and quality of information given to recruiters for proposal recruiting is significantly lower than in a fully-funded search.  Good recruiters thrive on making a match, and it can be frustrating to find the right talent when the information is scarce. Candidates will ask questions that they cannot answer, which puts recruiters in an awkward position.
  2. Juggling Multiple Priorities:  Recruiters typically have funded roles that are a priority (because they produce revenue when they are filled), and squeezing in last-minute, fast turn-around searches can conflict with prioritizing their work.  They know that their other hiring managers will not be pleased to have their searches drop to the bottom of the priority list while they focus on a proposal effort.
  3. Lack of Alignment with Typical Searches:  Some government contracting firms go after roles in a proposal that are significantly different than typical roles for the business. Recruiters essentially start from scratch in these situations.
  4. Contingent Upon Award: This means that candidates have to be willing to allow your firm to submit their resume and, with some proposals, sign a contingent offer letter for a role that has no guarantee.
  5. Opportunity Costs:  When you ask your recruiters to focus their efforts on proposal recruiting, you are reducing or even temporarily halting their efforts on recruiting for funded roles.  This shift of priority could reduce revenue in the short term.  If the proposal efforts do not result in future revenue, there could be a net loss of revenue.

Now that we understand the biggest challenges in proposal recruiting look at my colleague's blog to learn more about your options to help with staffing.