Interested to know your thoughts

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You are correct.  Defense engineering is one of the toughest.  Working for Dell federal and talking to the sales candidates in the defense sector, I heard the same thing every day.

bill josephson said:

Any discipline where demand outstrips supply is hard.

In my 32 years recruiting I've recruited in Accounting/Finance, Information Technology, Benefits Consultants, Medical Device Engineers, Software Sales, and Defense Engineering with that TS/SCI Clearance Full Poly background.

Of all, I go with Defense Engineering being the hardest due to the nature of their being high Clearance level Defense Engineering prospects are quite close mouthed with a small percentage willing to give you leads.  You're almost literally on your own with no help.  Plus, many aren't on LinkedIn or social media having families, the most stable job histories, working too long/hard hours to goof around on the Internet.

Easiest, Sales by far.

I would have to say DOD and especially TS/SCI would be the hardest to recruit for in any market. I know in the electrical and computer engineering very few folks with those credentials. Easiest would be manual testers.

In the Washington DC government contractor based market there is virtually  ZERO unemployment for anyone with a TS/SCI and Full NSA or CIA Lifestyle Polygraph and in demand technical skills like SW Development, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, etc....You can have a 110% match on degree, skills, and experience but if you do not have the right clearance it is back to the drawing board. Those are our most challenging needs.

Bill, good points. 

The issue with defense today is finding companies with actual needs due to all the paralysis over budget/sequestration uncertainty who'll work with 3rd party recruiters. 

Given a little time the people can be found, but today there's few companies wanting you to find them for them in the DC/Northern Virginia area.

The hardest skill sets are those where the client or client team denies access to the Hiring Manager and Final Decision Maker (usually the Hiring Manager's boss) from the outset of assignments.

After almost two decades of recruiting without this access I recommend another recruiter for the assignment.

The easiest skill sets are when, from the outset, at least the Hiring Manager and the Final Decision Maker agree on the weightings and hence ranking of the attributes to be found in exemplary candidate(s).

I make it easy for my clients to give me this information. If they bring in more stakeholder opinions that's easily done.

I like to meet face-to-face (or via Skype when geography makes this difficult) with the Hiring Manager. I don't need to meet others stakeholders and they don't need to meet with each other. Just 15 minutes of their individual time and wisdom delivers what I need to get going fast.

I reply with their own Attribute profiles and the team's consensus Attribute profile to which my Recruitment Plan is attached. From here on recruiting becomes so much easier and quicker - even for the toughest jobs.

My clients don't need to do anything like as many interviews. Recruit with the End Defined.

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