Thinking Outside The Box in Federal Hiring

I have been thinking more and more about the missed opportunities to hire the best and the brightest, and the right candidate for the right position at the right time if Federal agency managers allow for the perception or allow for invalid assumptions to influence their selection criteria and decisions. I see a missed opportunity if Federal managers do not have a valid selection procedure or allow for the lack of selection oversight to ensure quality selection of the right talents for the right positions. If an interviewing panel is used, I see a missed opportunity if the interviewing panelists allow for their own assumptions and intepretations about what they think a candidate is saying versus what a candidate actually is saying. By allowing for their own intepretations and their own frame of reference in what they think a candidate is saying versus a candidate is actually saying in their evaluation process, and when the hiring officials solely rely on the panel evaluation and assumptions to make selection decisions, Federal managers would allow for the biases and inaccurate evaluation to occur. I also see a missed opportunity when Federal hiring managers allow for irrelevant considerations (e.g., age, sex, color, national origins, religions, sexual orientation, disability, etc) to influence their selection decisions. If panel is used in the interviewing process, I see a missed opportunity if Federal managers do not consider having a follow-up, face-to-face interview with each qualified candidate to allow each candidate to answer any job-related questions that seem important to the hiring managers but are unknown by panel members. I see a missed opportunity if an interviewing panelist is biased or prejusdice toward a candidate. I also see a missed opportunity when Federal hiring managers hire candidates who are just like them and think just like them. There can be so many missed opportunities that Federal managers, if not executing with care and with selection procedure validity, will miss many candidates with the right qualifications and competencies to serve agency mission in the right positions at the right time.

I recently read a comment and I thought the idea is truly a transformation in the Federal hiring process. It read, “companies will need to recruit new talent from outside the company or even the industry, bringing in people who can think differently, pick up on subtle signals, and avoid strategic blind spots.” This too will require a major mind-shift amongst leadership, as traditionally, people like to hire people like them. Not so anymore. An approach to being willing to shake-up the status quo, adapt to a fast-changing world, ….”.

Challenging the status quo may be needed in this changing Federal budget economy. Thinking Outside The Box in Federal Hiring is the right strategy and the right thing to do.

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David Dean

You need to think about federal law and government wide regulations. Managers that “think outside of box” and violate the statutes and regulations, wind up in front of the Merit Systems Board, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Some are investigated by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). They usually lose, and cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Phuong Le Callaway, PhD

Hi David,

I understand what you were saying. I am knowledgable about personnel laws and EEO laws. I meant that when managers think outside the box, they will be fairer and select the right candidates for the right positions while comply with personnel laws and Merit System Principles. Currently, many have complained that Federal managers are unfair and have preselected people they wanted to select. My post just referred to those issues. I guess the Title can be misleading but the content refers to unfair selection when perception and invalid selection procedures have impacted their selection decision. If you go through my post one more time, you will understand what I meant. When they don’t think outside the box, they will hire people who are just like them and they use the procedure that may exlude other qualified candidates. Hope I am clearer here.