By Steve Kelman

Blog archive

The Lectern: Creative recruiting

If the government is going to manage even vaguely successfully the coming retirement wave, it will need to supplement finding employees through the traditional route -- hiring young people and assuming they will stay an entire career -- with efforts to attract nontraditional categories of employees, many of whom perhaps will serve as civil servants only for a few years. One category is 30-somethings from the private sector who might like a few years of federal public service, especially when they have young children. Another is retired industry people -- and I mean not just government contractor employees but people retiring from private-sector jobs.

The ever-inventive Partnership for Public Service, one of my favorite good-government organizations in Washington, which has already been promoting the idea of making it easier to enter government service mid-career, has started an initiative for attracting industry retirees to public service. The service is starting small and targeted: It is partnering with IBM to try to recruit older IBM employees and retirees to the Treasury Department.

This is the kind of innovative thinking we need in federal human resources. Good for Treasury for working with the group on this. Too bad more of these initiatives are coming from inside government itself, where it unfortunately is still a challenge to make progress on the basics, such as substituting inspirational agency missions for bureaucratese in federal job announcements (or even progress in getting rid of the awful phrase "vacancy announcement" to describe job openings). But of course feds are working right now in an environment that is not exactly encouraging innovation, so more of the slack has to be filled by groups outside government such as the partnership.

Readers of this blog who work in industry at a mid-career or senior-level jobs or are retired, what can the federal government do to make public service more attractive to you?

Posted by Steve Kelman on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:09 PM


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