At the dinner with the two ex-feds I blogged about last week, the consulting firm employees who had become civil servants were entering government mid-career. The same ex-federal manager noted that there were some agencies that were recruiting a larger and larger percentage of employees at mid-career stages and mid-career grades (GS 12-14). This is different from traditional federal practice, and, to the extent this actually is happening, it's very good news. Kids these days no longer expect to go into one organization, private or public, right out of school and stay there for 30 years. They expect to move around. This means that if government hires civil servants only at the entry level, it will lose kids jumping off the carousel, but never get the opportunity to gain others who might want to jump on. Furthermore, many people might want to give a few years of service to their country, but not be ready for entire careers in government. Government service might be particularly attractive to some mid-career employees with young children. If the government gives up on recruiting mid-career employees, and employees who only want to be civil servants for a few years, it will ignore a large potential talent pool
But, as we talked about at the dinner, the government needs to change a lot of its traditional HR practices, even including job descriptions and qualifications (the stupidly named so-called "vacancy announcements"), to make mid-career hiring possible. As one of my ex-fed dinner companions noted -- and I agree completely -- the Partnership for Public Service deserves a big thank you for the fantastic work they've done in this area.
Posted by Steve Kelman on Apr 09, 2007 at 12:08 PM