4 keys to finding the best new hires

Federal agencies have an opportunity to broaden the available talent pool, write Ronald Sanders and Jeff Pon from Booz Allen Hamilton.

Ronald Sanders is a senior executive adviser at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he focuses on strategic human capital and organizational transformation. Jeff Pon is a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, leading the firm’s human capital and learning efforts across the federal civilian market.

Thanks to the perception that the federal government provides job stability, government employment has seen a resurgence in popularity among younger job seekers. However, the economy is cyclical and will turn around sooner or later. When it does, the promise of stability alone might not be enough to attract the best and brightest talent to the government. Thus, now is certainly not the time for agencies to get complacent about talent recruitment. Indeed, with President Barack Obama and Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry making federal hiring reform a top priority, this is a great time to take advantage of the government’s inherent strengths as an employer and change the way it markets itself to younger workers.

Here are some ideas for how to do that.

  • Focus on the mission and convey excitement. For many young people, a job is more than just an opportunity to make money; it’s a chance to make a difference in the world. To reach those idealistic young workers, agencies should place their mission first and foremost when recruiting. Big, important policy issues that the federal government is addressing make it an exciting and meaningful place to work. In addition, government provides some of the best tools available in mathematics, the sciences, IT and other disciplines. By communicating the excitement of their missions, agencies will be able to recruit highly committed workers, which will be even more important as the labor market becomes more competitive.
  • Stress career mobility. There’s a continuing misconception among many younger workers that the federal government is one large employer. In reality, of course, the government is a collection of many employers offering workers far more chances than most private-sector positions of moving to exciting opportunities in related fields. Indeed, the sky’s the limit for new employees who are geographically, professionally and organizationally mobile. Agencies that tap younger workers’ desire for career mobility will find a wealth of eager talent to choose from.
  • Make internships a priority. It’s imperative that agencies focus on recruiting talent early. Career progression often occurs far faster in the government because many jobs require the latest skills and technological know-how. It’s common for relatively new federal employees to progress into positions of responsibility and leadership far faster than they would in the private sector. That factor will become even more apparent as the economy improves and triggers a wave of retirements among older workers who had been postponing that move. Agencies need to communicate that now is the time for the next generation of federal employees to get in the door and get a leg up.
  • Tap into social media. Today, digital natives are searching for and finding jobs on social networking sites, and agencies have to make a commitment to having a strong presence online. Whether recruiting CIOs in Second Life or making an enticing pitch on LinkedIn, agencies need to make an effort to meet candidates where they already are.

It’s going to take a different set of messages and tools to recruit and nurture the next generation of government workers. To attract the best and brightest workers — those who are committed to public service generally and a given agency and mission in particular — federal employers will need to articulate their value proposition using cutting-edge marketing strategies that speak to the aspirations of our next generation of public servants on their own virtual turf. If the federal government does this correctly, it has a great chance of competing with the private sector to become the employer of choice for years to come.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.