Recruiting Top Talent by Promoting Your Government Contractor Brand Identity


The best practices for hiring top talent must include a strategic approach to government contractor marketing.

Recruiting top talent is critical for government contractors, and the competition is fierce. You’re battling with other contractors for the brightest minds in the industry. Your future team members must have the certifications, program experience, and security clearances you need to comply with government requirements.

But before you can hire them, they need to know about your open positions and want to work for your company. How you promote your job openings and showcase your employer brand can make all the difference.

Your government contractor website and reputation as an industry leader are two of your most powerful tools. Best practices for hiring top talent start with your government contractor brand identity. Beyond that, you must know how to plan and execute effective govcon marketing strategies.

To successfully market your employer brand and entice the best candidates, consider a balanced approach incorporating earned, owned, and paid media. Keep reading for advice on creating a comprehensive approach to government contractor recruitment marketing.

Earn Recognition Through Your Government Contractor Marketing Efforts

Earned media is the exposure you receive through press coverage, social media mentions, awards, and endorsements from industry influencers. It originates from third parties that people in the market trust. Because you can’t buy it, candidates (and customers) consider it more reliable and unbiased.

For government contractors, earned media is invaluable to building credibility, strengthening your reputation, and increasing visibility among potential candidates. To capitalize on earned media, consider the following:

  • Develop relationships with journalists, market analysts, and thought leaders. Look for opportunities to provide interviews, expert commentary, and quotes in their stories. This approach positions your spokespeople as thought leaders, making your company more attractive to top talent and customers.
  • Issue press releases to keep your company in the news. Newswire services increase the likelihood of your positive announcements appearing on search results pages or other websites when candidates research your company.
  • Contribute articles and blog posts to industry and association publications, blogs, and newsletters. Your existing association sponsorships may offer the ability to do this now; many government contractors don’t take full advantage of these opportunities.
  • Monitor what people say about you on ratings and review sites. Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerBliss, Fishbowl, Niche, and Comparably are influential for job hunters. Watch YouTube and the discussion boards, too; unhappy employees can harm your reputation on sites like Quora or Reddit. Assign someone to respond to positive and negative feedback to show you take employee input seriously.
  • Encourage satisfied employees to share experiences and ratings on the workplace review sites listed above. Be careful not to force it to ensure authenticity.
  • Pursue industry awards that showcase your commitment to excellence. For example, websites like Washington Technology promote annual lists of “Top 100 Contractors” based on FPDS market data or other quantifiable metrics. Find the media and associations most likely to appeal to your target employee base, and contact them to get your company considered.
  • Apply for “top employer” awards like the Washington Post’sTop Workplaces” list to provide third-party validation and enhance your employer brand. Many media and career sites create ranked lists recognizing organizations that support diversity, working families, veterans, sustainability, and other causes important to the government.
Top Talent Acquisition for Government Contractors - Checklist

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Download our free checklist: Top Talent Acquisition For Government Contractors

Showcase Your Employer Brand Through Your Govcon Marketing Channels

Your government contractor website, blog, and social media profiles are examples of your owned media. You determine the content and positioning of these assets, so use them to engage candidates and give them a glimpse into your company culture. Best practices include:

  • Create a careers page or section on your website highlighting open positions, employee testimonials, and company benefits. We wrote about this in a recent blog post.
  • Optimize your website and job descriptions for search engine performance to ensure active and passive job-seekers see them in search results.
  • Share “behind-the-scenes” content on LinkedIn (used by more than 2.7 million federal government employees, according to govcon marketing expert Mark Amtower). Showcase your work environment and team dynamics. Engage viewers through compelling human interest stories and creative videos demonstrating how you value and support employees.
  • Monitor your social media channels for positive and negative feedback and respond appropriately. Watch for negative posts regarding customer complaints, delayed product launches, lost contracts, layoff rumors, and trash-talking from disgruntled employees. These posts can make candidates nervous about joining your team.
  • Invest in social amplification tools and best practices training, particularly for LinkedIn. Consider producing pre-formatted images, video clips, and posts that employees can find and share quickly and easily. You’ll gain exponential exposure and increase your control over messaging.
  • Cross-promote your good news on all your channels. Your awards, contract wins, new partnerships, funding deals, and product launches make your company more attractive to candidates looking to join winning teams.
  • Invest in “inbound marketing” to attract more people to your owned properties by creating thought leadership content for your government contracting website. Choose articles, blog posts, white papers, interviews, and case studies demonstrating your expertise and industry knowledge. Your content should cover emerging technologies, policy developments, industry trends, and best practices relevant to the candidates you want to attract.

Reach More Candidates Through Paid Government Contractor Marketing

Paid media includes sponsored content, display ads, search engine marketing, radio, paid social, and other promotions. It’s best suited for organizations with larger budgets and ongoing hiring needs but is also an option for urgent, frequent, or challenging positions. Here are some ways to optimize your paid media efforts:

  • Run targeted social media ad campaigns to promote open positions and reach potential candidates based on their skills, interests, and location. Platforms like LinkedIn offer detailed options to target particular audiences based on titles, job functions, certifications, skills, or other relevant keywords.
  • Advertise on recruitment websites where candidates are actively searching for positions; most offer sponsored listings, featured companies, and promotional options to buy additional exposure.
  • Test pay-per-click advertising on search engines like Google or Bing to target recruitment ads based on searched keywords.
  • Optimize your website and career section to streamline the application process. There’s nothing worse than paying to drive traffic to your website but failing to convert it because of underwhelming content, slow page load times, broken links, or poor user experience.
  • Explore outdoor advertising near military bases, specific government offices, or program sites. This “old-school” marketing can help you recruit in targeted geographic locations that align with your customer base or sales pipeline.
  • Incorporate offline advertising that drives people to your digital properties for conversion. Examples include sponsoring job fairs for people with clearances, exhibiting at conferences, underwriting association events, and attending college recruiting fairs.

The Power of a Balanced Approach

Earned, owned, and paid media help you promote your employer brand, protect your reputation, and extend your reach. Investing in these tactics and implementing the best practices in this article will help you attract the best people for your mission-critical positions. This balanced approach ensures that your organization is visible and credible in the eyes of potential candidates, ultimately leading to more successful recruitment outcomes.

If you’re unsure where to begin, we can help. Ocean 5 Strategies specializes in digital marketing, messaging, and website strategies for government contractors. Contact us for a free website assessment.

For more information on govcon marketing strategies or web design and development, talk with one of the experts at Ocean 5 Strategies.