Top 5 mistakes you’re making at your government contracts debriefing – Whether your organization secures a government contract or comes up short, under federal law, you generally have the right to a debriefing. Yet many contractors skip the debriefing process, missing a valuable opportunity to obtain an assessment of their proposals and figure out why and how the government selected another offeror.


Those organizations that do have the opportunity for a debriefing occasionally make mistakes that can substantially diminish the value of these evaluation sessions.


Here, government contracts partners Tim Sullivan and Kym Nucci outline the top five mistakes they’ve seen contractors make at their debriefings.


  1. Missing deadlines
    You’ll never even get your foot in the door of a debriefing unless you pay strict attention to deadlines. Contractors have just three days to request a debriefing from the time they receive a notice that a proposal was not selected. Debriefings also trigger deadlines related to bid protests.
  2. Being unprepared
    Grab the RFP, the applicable debriefing regulation, and the notice to unsuccessful offerors. You’ll also want the evaluation criteria handy so you can better understand the assessment and ask questions about your own proposal.
  3. Letting tensions run high
    Of course it’s disappointing to lose an opportunity, but a debriefing is not the place to vent about the outcome. Project a polite, friendly demeanor and avoid any argumentative remarks.
  4. Dropping the word ‘protest’
    Bid protests are a possibility for unsuccessful offerors, but again, a debriefing is not the place to raise the issue. Instead, take careful notes and gather the information you’ll need to meet with your attorney and discuss the possibility of a protest.
  5. Talking, not listening
    Don’t try to “explain away” your failed bid or push for new opportunities. You’re at the debriefing to listen carefully to evaluators and gather critical information. Remember: Always ask how your company could have done better, and pay close attention to the response.

Scroll to Top