Successful agency recruiting strategies revealed in report

The agencies that are most effective at recruiting talented new employees are those that use existing recruiting tools coupled with e-recruitment, virtual recruitment fairs online and other Web technologies, according to a new Partnership for Public Service report.

The Partnership’s report, “America Has Talent,” spotlights agencies that are making progress in recruiting and hiring for hard-to-fill positions and attracting special groups, such as veterans, returning Peace Corps volunteers, younger workers, and people with disabilities. The Partnership also examined the use of e-recruitment, Web technologies and branding.

The Partnership found that best practices are not enough to guarantee agency recruitment success. The report is based on interviews with human resources specialists and recruitment officials at 14 federal agencies.

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The Partnership, along with Monster Government Solutions, embarked on the project in order to expand the conversation about federal recruiting and hiring by highlighting successful approaches to recruitment problems the government faces.

“Recruitment efforts are passive, agency leaders fail to prioritize talent issues, hiring takes too long, candidate quality is spotty and key players don’t cooperate,” the report states.

As for younger workers, the report explains that the government faces an ongoing challenge in attracting these candidates, particularly students with technical and scientific majors who are needed to fill mission-critical positions.

“Many college and graduate students are unaware of the varied challenging employment opportunities in the federal government, and they often do not know how to find out what is available or how to wade through the often difficult hiring process,” the report states. The Office of Personnel Management estimates that 57 percent of full-time, permanent federal employees as of October 2006 would be eligible to retire in 2015.

Agencies that are managing to bring in new, younger talent, however, include the Social Security Administration and the Energy Department, according to the report.

SSA, for instance, employs a recruitment strategy that combines integrated marketing campaigns with branded materials, public outreach via the Internet and an adoption of flexible hiring and compensation policies. Similarly, DOE has been able to recruit young workers by participating in the Federal Student Service Ambassadors program. The ambassador program taps college students who have completed government internships to promote agency jobs and internships to their peers.

The report also examines the government’s adoption of Web technologies as recruitment tools. It again features DOE for its efforts in this area, focusing on the agency’s foray into social media and its virtual recruitment events.

“A standout example of DOE’s virtual recruiting can be seen in the virtual career fairs and presentations that the agency hosts, including one that drew about 170 college students,” the report states. “Communication between recruiters and applicants at these special events tend to feel real and personal because the recruiter and job seekers are online at the same time, utilizing text, instant messaging and voice chat.”

The Air Force Civilian Workforce is also highlighted in the report because of its move to create a national branding campaign for the civilian workforce. As part of this strategy, the Air Force developed a centralized dot-com website,, venturing beyond the typical .mil site for the civilian efforts.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Thu, Dec 9, 2010

First, what is the best … the best we can get? The biggest impediment to recruiting manifests itself as a retention problem. Take the best and brightest and turn them in functionaries with perfunctory responsibilities. What does this indicate about those who stay? I came here for the security so please don’t take away my middle class welfare.

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