When you’re recruiting to fill a position as part of an RFP, compliance is a hugely important issue. The candidate must meet the government’s specific criteria for experience, technical skills and certifications to a T.
Believe it or not, I once had a resume rejected for an RFP because the candidate listed their experience with PC DOS, and the RFP had asked for experience with MS-DOS. (They’re one and the same thing.)
It’s absurd, but these things happen. There is no such thing as close enough. You have to remember that the government is not going to interpret, they’re going to measure you against the exact requirement that’s down on paper.
After compliance, it’s time to think about profitability. When you’re hiring for an RFP, you’re not just filling a job within your organization, you’re filling a job that will be billable to your customer. You have to understand what the billing rate translates to in terms of your bottom line, so you determine an appropriate salary.
During the bidding process, you have to first figure out whether you’re in a cost-sensitive environment or not. I wrote about how to compete on price with your salaries in an LPTA environment in a previous post.
You should also consult salary surveys for that particular discipline, to compare other salaries and contract terms. Pay attention also to what your current employees are making, so you don’t anger them and poison your work culture by hiring a bunch of new people at a higher rate.
Finding the right people
These days hardly anyone is using the newspaper to find a job. You have to be in the places job seekers are looking, namely LinkedIn and other social media, and online job boards like Monster.com. For very specialized requirements, you may want to do an insert in a technical association newsletter or an industry magazine.
What are your best recruiting tips for government contracting? Share them as a comment below, or on my LinkedIn post.