Workforce

CIO Council to host governmentwide tech recruiting event

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It’s no secret the federal government has a hard time attracting talented young professionals, especially to high-demand tech and cybersecurity jobs.

The Federal CIO Council is hosting a governmentwide hiring event to help bridge that skills gap.

The two-day recruiting and hiring event will host over 20 agencies looking to appeal to IT and cybersecurity professionals -- including data architects, computer scientists, cyber analysts, engineers, mathematicians and project managers -- interested in joining the federal workforce and modernizing government.

A General Services Administration announcement bills the event as a way for agencies to recruit, interview and hire applicants on the spot via an expedited hiring process. Attendees will be able to attend free training seminars at the event on resume writing, interviewing and navigating the federal hiring process.  

The release encourages candidates to apply for position openings on USAJobs.com in advance of the event.

Dan Blair, president and CEO emeritus of the National Academy of Public Administration, said large-scale events of this variety “can be excellent recruiting tools and can raise awareness about the federal government as an employer.”

“I think you can get a lot of bang for the buck out of these,” he said. “These events can draw tremendous amount of interest to federal employment ... and can develop a pipeline and demand for these jobs.”

While Blair noted this specific event isn’t by itself the “solution to federal hiring,” he said such high-profile recruitment events can help the government recruit more qualified candidates because they generate awareness and interest.

“It’s not the conventional USAJobs, which is good,” he said.

The event could especially benefit civilian agencies, whose missions may be unclear to people unfamiliar with their work, suggested ICF Senior Vice President Jeff Neal.

“People may come there wanting to talk to the CIA or the FBI, then see an exhibit for [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and go over and talk to them,” he said.

Neal, who served as the chief human capital officer for the Defense Logistics Agency and the Department of Homeland Security and as the deputy director of human resources at the Department of Commerce, added that billing the event as a “hiring fair” more than a “job fair,” after which prospective hires would have dive into the cumbersome hiring process, was encouraging.

Blair noted, however, that simply getting a good turnout doesn’t equate to long-term success for agencies.

Blair, who served as the deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management during the George W. Bush administration, said that one of the lessons he’s learned from his experience with federal job fairs is that “you don’t want to raise hopes and then get caught in a burdensome and lengthy hiring process.”

How successful the event is in terms of federal hiring, he said, will be based on whether agencies can make sure applicants don’t get bogged down in the federal hiring process -- and that agencies can retain them once they’re hired.

“When you conduct an event like that, the hiring entities have to deliver,” he said. “You just want to make sure you don’t disillusion candidates by creating demand you can’t fill.”

The event takes place Nov. 6-7 at the Silver Spring Civic Building in Silver Spring, Md. Registration is open through Oct. 15 and required to attend.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a former FCW staff writer.

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