National Security & Defence

Transforming the way brands recruit national security & defence talent for their tech teams.

Some things require specialist expertise and industry knowledge, and with an accelerating skills shortage coupled with an ever increasing clearance shortage, we are set up to deliver just that.

Whether it’s partnering with globally leading private sector companies or directly with government bodies across the country, we deliver a bespoke recruitment service with the kind of care, attention and integrity that the National Security & Defence industry demands.


Our NS&D solution

  1. About Us

    The ever growing skill shortages, the accelerating clearance shortages, complex clearance eligibility rules and transfer rules, the secrecy and mystery surrounding security cleared roles…

    Building on 10 years of technical recruitment experience, Searchability National Security & Defence was conceived to solve these challenges.

    Our consultants are true specialists in technical recruitment as well as being security clearance experts and they live and breathe the National Security, Government and Defence world.

    Whether you’re a software developer looking to move into a security cleared career or a small or global organsiation looking for advice on recruiting security cleared talent, our consultants are here to help.

  2. Sourcing the unfindable

    Searchability NS&D specialises in sourcing the unfindable. We have spent years building multiple robust networks of highly cleared professionals who trust us, the clients to which we present them to, and the process.

    We are currently the lead supplier of security-cleared professionals into the biggest private sector Defense and Space clients the globe has to offer, alongside disruptive SMEs, and DoD direct.

    Some things require specialist expertise and industry knowledge, and with an accelerating skills shortage coupled with an ever-increasing clearance shortage, Searchability National Security and Defense are set up to deliver just that. Whether it’s partnering with globally leading private sector companies or directly with government bodies across the country, we deliver a bespoke recruitment service with the kind of care, attention, and integrity that the National Security & Defense industry demands.

  3. Sectors we specialise in

    Our multi-award winning recruitment strategies cover a wide variety of tech sectors across the UK, Europe, USA & Australia these range from:


    • Software Engineering
    • Systems Engineering, Integration & Test Engineering
    • Payload
    • Data Science & Big Data Engineering
    • Enterprise, Solution & Technical Architecture
    • Cyber Security & Information Security
    • Project & Program Management
    • Business Change & Analysis
    • Space Engineering
    • RF & Electronic Warfare
    • Cloud Platform & IT Infrastructure
    • Signal Processing & Sonar

Meet the NS&D team

Join the NS&D team

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With market leading employee benefits including wellness hours, monthly celebrations, trips abroad, amazing commission scheme, life assurance, childcare vouchers, flexible hours, car allowance, Microsoft surface pro, iPhone and much much more! Discover a career with Searchability’s National Security Defence team.

Looking for a role?

Looking to move into a security cleared role but you don’t know what opportunities are out there, what work you’ll be involved in, what the work / life balance will be and don’t understand the clearances, the processes and the eligibility criteria are?

Submit your CV
  1. We're here to help!

    Do you already hold a security clearance & don’t know what other prospects there are? Are you worried about protecting your clearance in a career move? Do you want to make sure your start date and clearance transfer dates align?

    Our consultants are true experts and work with some of the most innovative, forward thinking and cutting edge companies in the space and can truly offer guidance, advice and a shoulder to lean on to make sure you have a seamless journey to the next step in your career!

Making clearance clear

  1. What is security clearance and why is it required?

    Security clearances are official certificates which provide a level of certainty that an individual has been deemed trustworthy to have trusted access to sensitive information. There are different levels of security clearances, each of which grant trust and access to different levels of sensitive information and environments. Security clearances are in place and are required to ensure that the UK has protected itself from a range of threats which include foreign hostile intelligence bodies, organised crime groups, security threats and other external pressures.

  2. How can you obtain a security clearance?

    You can’t simply apply for a security clearance as an individual or as a limited company and you have to be in effect sponsored by an employer or company that holds the right to do so and this company will sponsor an application to UKSV (United Kingdom Security Vetting unit).

    In order for the company to sponsor an individual, they must be ‘List X’ approved, which means they have passed a range of strict security vetting procedures and audits and they must have current or coming classified projects.

    Security clearances are granted for specific periods of time (likely to be 3 years, 5 years, 7 years or 10 years) and they are kept under constant review to make sure they account for any changes in circumstances to ensure the appropriate level of assurance is maintained (likely to be a 6 month or 12 month questionnaire by the sponsoring company).

    Security clearances can become inactive or lapse when leaving employment or moving off a classified project and the most common rule is that if you don’t use the security clearance for 12 months, it will lapse and you will have to re-undergo vetting from scratch. Security clearances can generally be transferred to a new employer, company or government body within 12 months of it last being used and it’s important that start dates and any moves are managed to ensure the clearance is protected and start dates reflect the transfer times.

  3. What levels of security clearance are there?

  4. BPSS – Baseline Personnel Security Standard

    Baseline Personnel Security Standard is usually the first step to all security clearances and BPSS is essentially a package of pre-employment checks. A BPSS check is normally needed to work with any government body, the armed forces and any private sector company with access to government contracts, information or assets. A BPSS check will consist of a 3 year employment reference check (gaps in employment can be covered by personal references), criminal record check and right to work in the UK check. A BPSS check typically takes 1-3 weeks to complete.

  5. CTC – Counter Terrorism Check

    A counter terrorism check is required for people who will have access to information, people, assets or environments which would be considered at risk from terrorist interests. A CTC check will involve a BPSS check, departmental or company records check, security questionnaire, criminal records check and Security Services check. The clearance will be valid for a set period of time before it has to be renewed and CTC usually requires you to be a resident of the UK for a minimum of 3 years.

  6. SC – Security Check / eSC - Enhanced Security Check

    Security check (SC clearance) is the most common form of clearance that we recruit for and is required for anyone with access to SECRET or occasional, controlled and supervised access to TOP SECRET assets and information. A full SC clearance process will involve:

    • BPSS check
    • Criminal Record check
    • SC security questionnaire
    • Credit Reference checks
    • Departmental / Company Records Check
    • Security Services check

    SC clearance typically take 1-3 months to complete and SC eligibility normally requires you to have been a resident of the UK for a minimum of 5 years.

  7. DV – Developed Vetting / eDV – Enhanced Developed Vetting

    Developed vetting is the highest level of security clearance in the UK and is required for individuals who would have substantial unsupervised access to ‘TOP SECRET’ information, assets or environments. This is most common for people working in national security / intelligence or defence bodies.

    A DV clearance process will consist of:

    • A BPSS check
    • Criminal Record check
    • Credit reference checks and review of personal finances. This will likely include looking into incomes, assets, expenditures and may take into account spouse or partners finances and any joint liabilities
    • DV Security Clearance questionnaire
    • Departmental and company records check
    • Checks of medical and psychological records and information provided
    • Security Services check
    • An interview with the individual and may include interviews with the individual’s character referees and current/previous work supervisors
    • Drugs check to determine if any illegal drugs have been consumed in the last 12 months

    Once the process has been completed the information is assessed and a decision made whether to approve or decline the application for DV clearance. The DV clearance process normally takes around 9 months but this can be quicker or longer depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of vetting bodies to complete the process. Gaining DV clearance will normally require that you have been a resident of the UK for a minimum of 10 years and DV clearance is granted for a set period of time, after which a review must be conducted in order to renew the clearance.

  8. Be honest

    With all these clearance checks, it is important to be as honest and open as possible. The process isn’t designed to look for the perfect citizen, but just to judge a persons trustworthiness and risk to assets and as such, any concealed information could jeopardise the chances of passing a security check.

    There are a range of additional and less common security clearances (such as NATO Secret, NATO Cosmic Top Secret, NPPV-3) as well as special cases to bear in mind when transferring clearances, looking for employees with existing clearances and moving into contracting roles from permanent employment. Please get in touch with us to discuss in more details any questions you have and we’ll be on hand to help!

Looking to Hire?

  1. How we partner

    At Searchability National Security & Defence we value every client and ensure growth through delivering market knowledge and professionals that you will not find with any other partner. We strive to be different as a recruitment partner, looking to be an extension of your team and processes, delivering tailored solutions for every client to deliver the best possible service for you. This includes:


    • New client onboarding process to immerse ourselves into your brand and define preferred processes
    • Complimentary market insights for your vacancies
    • Continued advice and support from National Security and Defence recruitment experts
    • Range of recruitment packages to suit your needs
    • Extensive network of security cleared candidates
    • Market leading tools to promote your vacancies and engage potential candidates
    • Candidate care service to ensure consistent high standards of experience
    • Option for targeted paid advertising to increase brand awareness for your organisation
  2. Scalability / Hybrid RPO options

    For organisations looking to scale their tech teams, whether it’s 5 new hires or 100 new hires, our Scalability and Hybrid RPO solutions are the perfect solution. A Scalability / Hybrid RPO subscription is managed by Searchability expert recruiters, but allows you to unlock a myriad of added value services to help you meet your scaling objectives including:


    • Strategic employer brand support
    • Targeted recruitment marketing
    • Enhanced recruitment resource
    • Fixed monthly costs
    • Money back guarantee*

NS&D Case Studies


Take a look at some of our testimonials for our National Security & Defence employers...

Contact us

The service Searchability has provided has been excellent. The candidates are spot on and well prepared and the consultants understand the roles extremely well. They have proven to be a great addition to our supply chain.

In a candidate scarce and highly specialised market, Will and the team at Searchability are an essential supplier to us and Northrop Grumman. The key to their successful partnership with us is very much down to communication and initiative. They have proven that they know their core industries and the candidate base, which allows for them to provide us with valuable market intel, which we can then use to the benefit of the whole recruitment cycle.

Working with Searchability has been an excellent experience because of the reliability and incredible efforts from their company in helping NCIM Groep find suitable candidates for our NATO client. The communication has always been very positive and effective especially with George Widdowson which has resulted in successful placements of candidates from Searchability at NATO. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Searchability.

I inherited the relationship with Searchability when I was hired by a Defense & National Security prime to support the business through exponential growth.

  • Read full review...

    Over 2 years, Searchability proved to be our best performing recruitment partner by every metric. The Internal Recruitment Team had a challenging targets, Searchability proved to be a key partner that helped us deliver phenomenal headcount growth, filling many difficult requisitions along the way.

    I found their overall delivery to be excellent and wherever there was an opportunity for improvement Searchability adapted quickly. Most impressive was Searchability’s performance on our niche technical roles and the market intel provided helped us overcome some major challenges. Searchability are a trusted external partner to our internal team and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Tom Rick

Our Proud Achievements

Best Online Candidate Experience Award


Best Use of Online Recruitment Award


Top 25 Mid-Sized Companies To Work For


Top 25 Recruitment Companies To Work For


Top 25 North West UK Companies To Work For


50 Fastest Growing Firms - North of England


Bronze award from Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS)


Level 1 Disability Confident Employer


Global Recruiter - Best Employer Brand


Best Small Companies to Work For in the UK


3 Star Employee Engagement


Creative Online Marketing Award


Best use of Mobile


Marketing Star of the Year


Personality of the Year


Technical Innovation Award


Best use of Online Recruitment


Best use of Mobile


Best Tech Digital Team


Best use of Mobile


Best Tech Digital Team