OPM official urges 'savvy recruitment' for next-gen workforce

The federal government must replace its tried-and-true hiring practices with some savvy recruitment ideas, says Dan Blair, deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management.

The coming wave of retirements is not the only problem, said Blair, who spoke Oct. 4 at the Federal Agency Recruiting Summit, sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service.

Agencies also face stiff competition, because the demand for workers is outstripping supply, and they are saddled with an unwieldy hiring process and a traditional government employment model that is not attractive to the new generation of job seekers.

“OPM is taking aggressive steps in each area,” Blair said.

For example, OPM’s innovative advertising campaign, which has aired in a dozen media markets since May, is aimed at people who are entering the workforce as well as those who are mid-career.

OPM is also reaching out to a new generation of talent through Federal Career Days. Blair said four career days will be held this fall at colleges that have strong academic programs in critically needed federal occupations. Each school has shown a strong commitment to federal employment.

OPM’s second action is its Career Patterns initiative, which identifies segments of the labor market and their preferred work environments, Blair said.

Improving the hiring process is the third of OPM’s concerted efforts, he added, citing such OPM initiatives as a Federal Hiring Flexibilities Resource Center; the HR Flexibilities and Authorities Handbook; streamlined vacancy notices posted on USAJOBS.gov, the official job site of the federal government; and an applicant and hiring manager satisfaction survey linked to USAJOBS.

OPM recently introduced the Web-based Hiring Makeover Toolkit, created with the assistance of the Partnership for Public Service. It can be used by agencies to overhaul or tweak their hiring processes, Blair said.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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