Support from the Top

CACI International is a company on a mission. That’s the message that Larry Clifton says he received from the company’s CEO and president before he accepted the position as the VP of recruiting and workforce management at the IT solutions and government contracting company. Missions are certainly one thing that Clifton understands, because he retired from the Air Force before joining CACI in 2000. But Clifton says that it’s his knowledge and understanding of leadership’s critical role in driving change and increasing accountability that has helped him the most since assuming his current role as the company’s chief talent acquisition leader.

“We’re in a very unique position,” says Clifton. “What I understood before I took the job, is that Paul Confoni, our CEO and President, wanted to grow the company to tier one status in the next four years through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. That will result in a need to increase our workforce from 11,400 to 20,000 employees. So it was clear to me that we needed to improve our results very quickly to succeed with the mission. While I didn’t have a background in recruiting before coming to CACI, I do understand what it takes to initiate change and achieve results. You need leadership, you need process, and then you need to measure and improve the results. Our success has started at the top, because Paul is our number one recruiter, he supports everything we do. He also holds the line managers and the recruiters accountable for recruiting.”

One of the tools that Clifton has used to help speed-up the company’s hiring process is a memorandum of understanding between recruiters and CACI’s line managers. Clifton drafted the terms of the agreement, which spell out both the accountabilities and responsibilities of managers and recruiters in the sourcing and hiring process. As an example, the memorandum specifies how much time the line managers have to schedule an interview, once a recruiter refers them a candidate. But it was Confoni who approved the memorandum, and then went one step further, by incorporating all the memorandum’s timeframes and specific deliverables into the performance plans of the company’s recruiters and line managers. Holding everyone on the team accountable has improved results.

According to Clifton, the memorandum spells out everyone’s roles and responsibilities including the fact that both recruiters and line managers are responsible for sourcing candidates and encouraging referrals.

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The results have been impressive. The majority of CACI’s new hires must have some level of government security clearance, and the competition for those candidates is fierce in the Washington D.C. area. However, despite the obstacles, Clifton’s group increased new hires last year by 35% over the prior year and referrals accounted for 42% of all hires made. While Clifton credits the referral program with shortening the number of days needed to fill a position, he says that executive support for his suggested referral program enhancements got the ball rolling.

“We pay anywhere from $500 to $10,000 for a referral and we gross that up,” says Clifton. “In addition, every time someone refers an employee, they get their name thrown into a hat and we have a quarterly drawing for a prize like a cruise. Fortunately, I’ve had great executive support for what I’ve wanted to do and that has made a big difference in our ability to impact recruiting results quickly.”

Leslie Stevens writes for human capital and business publications. She was a senior manager in the staffing industry for more than 20 years and understands how talent acquisition contributes to the bottom line. She likes it when readers share their opinions, innovative ideas, and experiences about overcoming obstacles while fighting the global talent war.


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