Change the Way You Hire Part 3: Recruit or Settle


Thanks for coming back for part 3 of this series. If you have not already, please check out:

Recruiting talent is a critical factor in avoiding mediocrity. You cannot just expect talented people to fall into your lap. You need to actively recruit and lucky for you, there are an abundance of tools out there to help.

Do not hire recruiters. You know your organization the best and what type of person you are looking for. Therefore, you should be the one that finds that person. Plus, who would you rather have call on you for a job, a recruiter or a person from within the organization?

Start by determining what qualifications the position needs to have. Then, to identify potential candidates that potentially meet the qualifications, use tools such as Linkedin, professional associations and recommendations via word of mouth. This is in addition to posting the position through your organization’s standard processes and looking at internal candidates.

After you have identified potential candidates, have an informal meeting with them to determine if they are open to a career change and how well they fit within your organizational values, goals and culture. Then you can proceed with more formal interviews.

People are naturally drawn to opportunity and if all you do is post your job on a few websites, you are alienating anyone that is not actively looking. You will not be able to eliminate sifting through resumes and cover letters, but you will have a better understanding of what you are looking for in a candidate and potentially identify candidates that would not have been available in the standard applicant pool.

Most often the best candidates are not the ones who actually apply for the position. It is up to you to find the best person and actively recruit them. Don’t be afraid to mine gold from other organizations.



Linkedin serves as a great recruiting tool. If you upgrade to a premium account you have additional features, such as messaging any member without having to be a connection first. By using Linkedin you have a searchable database of millions of resumes at your fingertips. For more information please visit


Tim Howell is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Tim Howell

Thank you Ryan. I know the series has not received much attention on GovLoop but as a someone who started out in government at 20 and achieved a lot of great things, I found it extremely frustrating as I tried to move to different organizations or move up.

I used to speak at high schools on government technology and never once did any student stand up saying they wanted to go into government, other than on the political science side. This shows that something is wrong with our recruiting and hiring practices. If we want to attract talented people (other than those who are stubborn enough to fight the system), we have to look at how we approach the problem.

Thanks for chiming in! Take care.