4 Tips for Federal Hiring Managers

Every week I search all the new jobs on USAJOBS and pick the top 10 per category (from HR to IT) for our jobs.govloop.com section (sign up for our weekly emails).

After spending a few months perusing and picking the best jobs, I have 4 tips for federal hiring managers on making a good posting:

1) Post more GS 11-12 openings – I’ve noticed that there are two extremes on job openings. There are lots of GS 13-15 openings in the IT, acquisition, HR fields as well as a decent number of entry level (GS 7, 9) jobs. But honestly there’s a huge lack of GS 11-12 openings. Post more openings in this range and you can tap into the wide range of quality folks with 3-8 years of experience that would be perfect (and also you will have less competition).

2) Use the parenthesis / Use common language – This is often repeated but it’s crazy how many job titles and descriptions still are super unclear and sound like bureaucratic-mess. Simple tips – call the job what it – if it is for a recruiting job use the parenthesis and say (HR Specialist – Recruiting) or Public Affairs Specialist (Media Relations) or IT Security (IT Specialist – Security) – I’d say only 10% of jobs really spend any time making it clear what the job is.

3) Post in multiple job series – While some jobs require really specialized skills, a ton of jobs could be done by any smart person with basic skills of reading/writing/analysis/basic statistics. A lot of the budget analyst, IT specialist, and even HR jobs could just be posted as general program analyst jobs. I’d post the openings in multiple series and get the best candidate.

4) Go outside the beltway – Especially at the higher levels (GS 13-15) almost all the job openings are in DC. Very few of them are outside of DC (except for some DOD jobs). Which makes it pretty competitive to get experienced and quality workers. I think there’s a huge opportunity for agencies to get quality workers if they set up higher level jobs in the field, set up specialty shops like IT and acquisition in areas with lower costs of living, and finally allowed more remote workers at these higher levels (VA CIO shop has lots of these)

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Allison Primack

Here are some additional tips that members of the GovLoop LinkedIn Group shared:

Stephanie KeaneI know some improvements have been made, but I still find USAJobs very cumbersome to use, in particular adding and updating profile information.

Ted CogdellI suggest taking a hard look at the questions being asked in the interviews of our potential “leaders.” I further suggest asking questions that get to the very heart of interpersonal relationships, since that is where most of our problems in the workplace are born, such as, “What behaviors have you shown that would make one think that you are a reasonable person with an abiding sense of integrity and fair play?” The higher the grade they are applying for, the more examples they need to give. GS-15 applicants, and higher, should have to give at least five examples–yes, five. Don’t go “easy” on these candidates. They are going to have others’ careers in their hands–and in some cases, others’ lives. Then, sit back and watch them deliver (or not). Verify these responses with others from past employment. Pay particular attention to any candidate who mentions how he or she treated persons with disabilities in the workplace in their answer to this very direct and probing question. Let me know how this works for you. I’d love to hear your feedback.