John Klossner

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How not to recruit potential employees and influence people

There has been much discussion lately about how to attract the best talent to the federal workforce. As the perfect storm of an aging employee base and a bad economy make government positions look good in terms of security and availability, newer talent is checking out government jobs. Federal recruiters, however, might not want to recommend prospective employees browsing the comments sections of federal technology news sites.

The following comments (which have been edited for style and length) were all found in a brief review of the FCW.com web site. And, I note, not all found at one or two stories; these comments were spread throughout the site. (For a more thorough account  -- and more detailed comments about -- this situation I recommend this story):

* The supervisors here are sycophants who are only interested in their careers. It's the bottom end of not providing direction to their people, who are expected to learn from each other. And we have to because our managers spend all of their time on the phone and especially on e-mail with their managers. To a person, our requests for help are ignored. Our managers brag about BSing their managers with missives on e-mail, saying nothing but responding to every e-mail to make sure their name is seen (as if they are running for office).

* My experience is (more or less) a third of folks (management and labor) are amazing and functional well beyond pay and expectations. Another third are limited, work-reward clock-punchers. The last third are untrainable and unfireable.

* As a programmer, I have deadlines, not work hours. Since the deadlines are not self-imposed, I'm always dancing to someone else's tune. I manage two weeks of time unplugged yearly -- over the winter holidays when project-side staff are all doing their party face time. Outside of those two weeks I haven't had a "real" vacation (or weekend) in over a decade. On the upside I can start work at 3 a.m. or put in time over the weekend. I can be productive in spite of commute and meeting time constraints -- all while still spending a precious few evening hours nightly with my family.

Klossner cartoon Aug 18 2010

* I've seen one too many occasions of "hiring teams" not hiring the best qualified but hiring friends that don't meet the job requirements. Essentially it's an unfair hiring process. I've also seen personnel that applied for IT positions, and once hired, they were converted to another job series. This is what gives the government a bad rap.

* Federal employees frequently do have a lot of education and certifications; however, the federal human resources processes do not necessarily match skills and education with job positions. Federal HR needs some revamping.

* If the DOD is like the agency that I work for (who is modeling themselves after the DOD) they need to cut management. We have more layers of management and more keep getting added without adding any workers.

* Most of the existing staff employees are already overworked and under water.

* Becoming a civil servant does not automatically make you stupid, but the current political system encourages this behavior and must change.

* I don't mean to paint all government workers with the same brush -- some are fantastic. But not many of them.

* There are contracting personnel put in jobs who have not a clue about true contracting processes. These individual are put in position because of favoritism.

* It's fascinating how before there was an Internet, nobody needed access. Then only a limited number of personnel were given a Web browser. Now everyone has a browser, and some screw around all day. Maybe they should go back to monitoring productivity and seeing who is reading the newspapers and Facebooking all day.

* Most middle-level managers want to demonstrate they are in control.

* Maybe if you removed 1/3 of the federal workforce the 2/3 remaining would become more efficient and managers would improve as well. Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha what a funny fed I am.

* My boss never speaks to me anyway, so how is it any different if I work at home.

 

Posted by John Klossner on Aug 18, 2010 at 12:19 PM


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Reader comments

Thu, Aug 19, 2010 Joseph DC

How to correct the federal HR deficiency. save money, and improve employee performance? Carrot and Stick Year 1: Mandatory firing of bottom-performing 5% at all levels of Govt. Year 2: Install/revive performance-grading of employees. Apply full 5% budget savings to reward the top 20% - mandatory at all levels with public justifications. Again fire the bottom 5% (mandatory and at all levels). Year 3 and onward: Fire bottom 5% and hire 5%.

Thu, Aug 19, 2010 chuck DC

Consider looking for competencies required for the service or leadership role. Most can be trained but right competencies are a treasure, an investment to be leveraged and built upon.

Thu, Aug 19, 2010

The last administration favored outsourcing and the current administration favors in-house or anything opposite of the last administration. As a result, we now have contractors that are now Feds who now hire other contractors over other Feds. Communication is limited to managers and former contractors with existing Feds completely left out.

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