Ok, a hiring spree might be a bit of a stretch. But the government really is hiring. Despite all the bad publicity, the shutdown, the sequester, the pay freeze, the furloughs, the government really is looking to hire new talent on a daily basis. (You can check out GovLoop’s top job openings here.)
However, there is a problem. Due the bad publicity, getting young people interested in government is a big challenge. So how do you recruit effectively?
Tom Fox is the Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. He told Chris Dorobek that the key to hiring the best and brightest is to recruit where the young talent already resides, college campuses, twitter and Linkedin.
“The demographics are not in our favor right now in the federal government. Even if, budget reductions have slowed hiring, agencies still need to maintain the job market profile and find ways to continually reach young people. There are jobs right now that are looking to be filled. There will inevitably be jobs in the future that will need to be filled. You can’t just pick and choose when you reach out to college students or recent graduates. You need to maintain an ever-present view towards them so when it comes time for them to find their first, second or third job, it is a highly mobile workforce, they will be thinking about the government as a career option for them,” said Fox.
What’s the best way to reach potential new hires?
“It is important for federal leaders and what we call near-peers, folks who have recently entered government service, to get out there. To get out on college campuses. These near-peers need to be the face of government. It needs to be a boots on the ground approach. You need to get a lot of people out there, telling their personal story, so that these folks can see themselves potentially in the same role at some point in the future,” said Fox.
Can one person make a difference?
“Absolutely. We do a lot of work with individual agencies where we help them prepare former interns to go back on college campuses and educate their peers about the opportunities back in their federal agency. When you think about this generation, more than anything, they trust the views of their peers. Whether it is through social media, networks, in person, they are looking for their peers input. They want the honest truth and they feel like they can get that from somebody that looks and acts like them,” said Fox.
What do you say to recruits?
“With the shutdown and some of the other issues confronting the federal government right now, it can seem like a less than cool place to be, but if leaders can get out there and really talk to folks about the mission of their agency, government in fact is really cool. If you can make that connection to mission you will find that right source of inspiration for millennials. Millennials really want to make a difference in their work, not just make a buck. So anyone out there talking about the federal government needs to talk about the mission, not just an individual set of job responsibilities,” said Fox.
Where do you go to reach new recruits?
“College campuses are obviously a great place to start. You can meet with classes or student groups. You can also go out to associations and other organizations that are organizing around the various mission critical occupations. Just get out there in terms of networking events. Millennials are incredibly savvy. They are constantly out there looking to build and maintain a network. Go where they are. Don’t leave it simply to in person meetings. You need Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin,” said Fox.