What Would You Change about Federal Hiring? What Should Be Done to Attract Younger Federal Workers?

Home Forums Acquisitions What Would You Change about Federal Hiring? What Should Be Done to Attract Younger Federal Workers?

This topic contains 36 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Hammer 6 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #142121

    Christine Jacobs
    Participant

    OPM has eliminated KSA’s, introduced the “Pathways Program” to give students and recent grads increased access to federal jobs, and set new rules requiring agencies to keep in better contact with applicants during the hiring process.

    What more could the government be doing to improve the federal hiring process? And what should the federal government do to attract young people who have the right skills into public service?

    Share your insights here on GovLoop, or better yet, come hear OPM Director Berry talk about the administration’s plans at an upcoming Brookings event on Wed, Sept 28. Discussion will focus on OPM’s efforts and include two expert panels (and free lunch!).

    Full event details and link to register here: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/0928_public_service.aspx Please join us!

  • #142193

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    I often joke to people that our recruitment strategy should be “Wait…they’ll come”, and our recruitment slogan should be “We’re the government…we’re not leaving town”.

    At a time of higher unemployment, I doubt that there is any need to go to great lengths to try and squeeze the so-called “best and brightest” out of the broader labor market. There are more of them than there are jobs to offer, and the relative stability and security of federal employment can be more attractive to folks than the perpetual esspresso machine in some flashy place that may well outsource to Bangalore, or (if you’re luckier) be acquired and relocated across the country, when you least expect it..

    At the same time, the gap between how hiring is done in the federal PS, and what many of these young tikes have previously experienced when landing work, can be miles wide, and the challenge can often be to make them familiar enough with both the time frame, and the steps involved, that they don’t give up hope and pursue something else before we call them back.

    I think there is much to be said for letting people, who have no prior contact with it, understand the legal and practical basis for hiring practices in the public service, so that they can cut us the slack we require, so that their desperation for work doesn’t result in them seeking any port in a storm.

  • #142191

    Charlie Tierney
    Participant

    Mark,

    I think we need to look at it from the candidates point of view in addition to the hiring manager and recruiter. Why would a talented and capable employee wait for a job offer when others are on the table? When we don’t try to squeeze out the best and brightest they go elsewhere because we can. Then what is the government left with. Individuals who ‘endured’ the lengthy hiring process because they were left with no other alternatives. I think government should compete for talent, not simply take people who agree to wait because there is no other place for them to go. I am not sure that is the best way to ensure you are selecting and hiring a highly motivated workforce.

  • #142189

    Christine Jacobs
    Participant

    Thanks for responding, such great responses.

    If you’d like to attend our event, I’d be happy to register you! Kindly let me know; we’d appreciate your insight at the forum we will be hosting.

  • #142187

    Charlie Tierney
    Participant

    Christine,

    Thanks for the offer, don’t think I will be able to pull myself away from work that day. But feel free to shake things up a bit and take some ideas from our recent report you may find of interest http://www.deloitte.com/us/fedcloud

    Cheers,

  • #142185

    Russell Maltempo
    Participant

    As a young federal employee, there are a few things I noticed:

    #1 – The whole “Best Qualified” rankings dependent upon a survey is a very poor strategy. It requires an extensive resume (one that can validate every question on the survey) which is extraordinarily time consuming to do for each position. In fact, it’s probably easier to apply to 10 different companies in the same amount of time it takes to apply to one federal position on USA Jobs.

    #2 – Where are the 7/9 jobs? In the DC area, there is currently posted 505 GS12/13/14 positions. There are only 166 GS7/8/9 positions. You want younger workers? Switch those figures.

    #3 – Where’s the fast track? I have met a few supervisory level people under the age of 40, but a majority of the people I’ve met are much older. If you want the best and the brightest, they need the opportunities to get where they want to go.

  • #142183

    Julie Chase
    Participant

    A few musings:

    * I always have to ask, why DC? You would have to drag me kicking, screaming and/or unconscience. I travel exactly 19 miles on one fairly straight road directly to the gate, and park right at my building.

    * Why do millenials expect to get the 9/11/12 jobs right out of college? No one in my generation did. College grads started out as 5’s and worked their way up.

    * The hiring process for the fed is like it is, because it has to make sure it is fair to everyone. If it is not, then there will be law suits.

    * Often people forget how and why civil service began in the first place. For vets. Keeping that in mind, I would proceed cautiously with “the best and brightest” and “right out of college” attraction to gov work. As many programs have gone to the chopping block, STEP, SCIP, et al.

    * The “best and the brightest” also come in WG (wage grades). Someone needs to perform maintenance on our planes, our ships, our gov vehicle fleets, our facilities need to be maintained too.

  • #142181

    Russell Maltempo
    Participant

    I think the point of the question asked was “What should be done to attract younger federal workers?” not “Why are young people so entitled?”

    Admittedly, our generation has a sense of entitlement that I think is unhealthy. Mind you, I’m one of them… but even if an entire generation has that sense of entitlement, do you just ignore that entire generation of workers?

    To your points:

    * Development through WG grades is GREAT. It seems to be one of the few last bastions of development that will still be available… since as you mentioned the STEP, SCEP, etc are all on the chopping block. The internship process moving to a competitive format will mean better quality hires as interns, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. 🙂

    * I understand that the civil service began as a transition for vets… But that’s no longer just the case. Vets should (and always should!) get preference for civilian government jobs.

    * Proceeding cautiously with the “right out of college” may be a good choice… but not proceeding with the “best and the brightest” seems like an choice the government wouldn’t want to take. If the inherent goal is to hire the best people, and maintain a level of institutional knowledge, then it is in the government’s interest to actively recruit the best and the brightest. The government shouldn’t be reactive when it comes to positions, but proactive. If the government wants to be faster, more agile, and respond with better service to their constituents it needs the best educated, best developed people.

    * I don’t think millenials expect a 9/11 right out of college. However, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that a cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude graduate to expect a grade 7 when going into government work… especially since in order to qualify for a 7 out of college that’s one of the requirements. I agree that anyone right out of college expecting a 9 is a little jaded… unless they had the proper experience equaling one year at a 7 grade.

    * The hiring process for the federal civil service is the way it is because it has to be fair to every applicant, while throwing away the emerging organizational behavior practices that promote hiring the right people into the organization. As Jim Collins’ book Good to Great states: it’s more important to have the right people in the organization, not the one with the right experience. You find the right people, who match the vision, mission, culture, and change of the organization, and inevitably there will be something that person will contribute that is of equal or greater value than experience alone. Admittedly it’s hard in federal service, since all the agency heads are political appointees… but creating and accustoming career civil servants to continuous change and improvement will only help in the long run.

    I think the big thing to consider is that there will be a tremendous generational shift within federal civil service in the next 5 to 10 years. Along with this shift will be the personalities, expectations, and technology of the current generation entering the service. The goal, then, should be to cater towards developing a pipeline with the younger generation, cultivating a culture of change, and transitioning knowledge and information to the new generation. Yes… there’s a lot of us who are stubborn, terrible listeners, and entitled snobs. It just means we all need to look out for and recruit the best, not wait for them to come to us.

  • #142179

    Anonymous

    When I recruit for positions, my frustration is with the time it takes to bring someone on board. I move as quickly as I possibly can, but background clearances and tax checks can delay the process. I cannot control these processes, although I wish I could.

    @Russell, Your observation about your generation is refreshing and mature. I have observed the sense of entitlement when I have interviewed applicants. I once interviewed a person for an analyst position who asked when she could be promoted. She never said anything, when asked, about what she brought to the table. She did not get the job and I am sure she did not understand why.

    I want to be clear the above attitude is not true of all millenials. I hired an intern once who was so grateful for his position. He was an outstanding employee although he was with me for less than a year. He moved to another internship in the financial sector that was the chance of a lifetime and in line with his major. I was so happy for him.

    As far as hiring is concerned, I want to attract the right workers with the right skill sets. Frankly, I don’t care how young or old they are. I am looking for diversity of experience and the strengths people will bring to a job. Additionally, I want to hire committed, competent team players who are interested in the work and who will give it their best effort. I especially seek those who are creative and innovative.

  • #142177

    Julie Chase
    Participant

    Russell, you have captured my heart. I have two millenial children. My son is a recent college graduate. While in high school he participated in the “shadow program”, in college he was a STEP during one summer with our tenant command and worked intermittently as STEP for two years at the directorate. He enjoyed his time there and is blessed with 2 yrs of institutional knowledge in military engineering. The average age in the directorate engineering group is 48 or better. He was among 4 STEPs hired in the dept that year. However, with budget cuts they were all dismissed in August of 2008, and since that time no more STEPs were brought on board. Of the 4, my son was willing to return if asked. The other 3 commented that the pay was too low and the work was mundane. Their outlook was to the private sector in large cities where moving up was faster and the money was better. He looks to get into the Pathways Program once it starts. Now there is a hiring freeze and his chances are slim. He would gladly take a GS5 if offered. His STEP mates, no way. The reality is, I am on many gov boards other than GovLoop and the Vet Groups are determined to keep college grads like you and my son out, hence the demise of STEP & SCIP. I believe you and my son will make changes, as there might not be a choice with all the VSIP’s now offered to the babyboomers. If they leave in mass groups, you all may be hired to pick up the pieces and run, which I am confident you wil do. I live in a small “burg” with a small installation, where college grads are heading for greener pastures. It is imperative that young folks “stay” here and support the war fighter, as I am doing and my husband is doing. My husband wonders where the “young” WG’s are who will take his place in maintenance/repair of our Navy’s aircraft. “Fast” & “agile” are only as good as the directive/bulletin/order directs you as such. In DoD at least, the military is in control and top brass is loaded with absolutes as to how things are to be done and “shall” be done. A millineal in DoD doesn’t have a chance, as “we” the peace loving, idealistic babyboomers learned quickly. Oh yeah, the government is throwing away emerging organizational practices in HR. My sister is an HR specialist in a private company & can get someone on board within a day, no problem, you start Monday of next week. As for mission and culture, right now folks are looking for “work” as they can get it. Again, reality rears it’s ugly head.

    Russell, you are as bright and an idealist as the best of my generation. I do hope you win out for the rest of us. Keep the “reality” evermost in the back of your mind and remember that change comes from “within”. If my generation grabs the VSIP’s your generation is in like flynn…….now ready, set, go. And don’t forget those young folks who choose to stay in the “burg” and work for Uncle Sam.

  • #142175

    Russell Maltempo
    Participant

    Susan – in your experience, how many good/great candidate have you lost out on due to the length of the process? Have you found many people willing to wait until the process completes before transferring in?

    I think that’s the difficult part about finding the right person… their situation may require them to take something with greater urgency for personal reasons, even though they want the job and you want them… That’s where the process hurts the most in my opinion.

    And to your point about when we get a promotion… I think one of the values we don’t learn in education (which is a shame, even in business school) is that if we can’t provide the necessary reasons on why we deserve a raise or promotion, we shouldn’t even consider it. We need to justify our value, in the fact that we provide the right skills for the job that we were in and we outperformed.

  • #142173

    Russell Maltempo
    Participant

    Julie:

    Having grown up in a burg, and having lived in the fields of Ohio, I get what you’re saying. I have to admit that I’ve been a city boy all my life, and where I am now I love having the dirty and rugged of DC. I’ve learned great life lessons here in the city, learning to rely on my feet than a car, and having my phone stolen. Those experiences within themselves are learning experiences, something I couldn’t get within the confines of a daily commute within my car.

    I appreciate your compliments. I do want to be honest and say that I am both optimistic and jaded about the future of federal jobs. As a grandfathered SCEP that’s looking for something permanent, I can tell you that the process even on that end is a bear.

  • #142171

    Anonymous

    @Russell, Although it has not happened to me personally, I have seen situations where people have turned down job offers because another agency offered them a position. Some people are willing to wait. Others are not. It depends on the job market and host of other factors.

  • #142169

    Anonymous

    @Russell, Keep that great attitude working for you.

  • #142167

    Natia Johnson
    Participant

    I expected to get a government job at an 11/12 level right out of college and I did. Keep in mind, positions at the GS-12 level or higher only require one year of experience. If you do not want my generation to be qualified for these levels, you will have to get OPM and the agencies to increase the required years of experience for the GS levels. I expect to be in a GS 13/14 within the next 2 to 3 years and I will still be under age 30.

    Why are older workers so concerned with our paygrade? I experienced negativity from my older coworkers during my first week as a new government employee because they were not happy to fnd out my grade level. After witnessing the type of quality work that I can provide, many of them changed their negative thoughts.

    I just wish more older workers would give ‘us’ younger workers a chance. We can do the work…

  • #142165

    Russell Maltempo
    Participant

    First thing: Please do not turn this into a generational battle. Please, please please.

    Second thing – I’ve found that different agencies, depending upon needs/demand, will hire at higher levels. Where I work, 13’s have a hard chance of making it from the outside… or at least not on a perm status. Being a 13 requires at least 5 years of concurrent experience, and at least one year of experience at the 12 grade (meaning they expect a college graduate to have experience at the 7, 9, 11, and 12 levels).

    If you were hired right out of college into an 11 grade, that says more about that agency’s human capital needs than anything else. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but that they identified that they needed human capital, and were willing to sacrifice the level of experience they could usually gain with an 11 (2-3 years) for someone with less. That’s a proactive agency when it comes to human capital. I’m sure that some agencies that have a lot of retirements pending will go in that same route – start hiring a whole bunch of 9/11/12 ladders because they need to fill positions, and develop people over the course of those three years.

    If I understand correctly, in order to gain a GS-13 you have to compete – you can’t be automatically promoted. With that being the case, what happens to your expectations when you compete against other, just as competent people? What happens if you don’t get the 13?

    There are definitely people of the older generation in every company who should retire and give more young people a chance at jobs… but I also understand that in 2008 a lot of people who would have retired in 5 years decided not to because half of their retirement was wiped out in the devastation. While I want to succeed for myself, I also understand that they are worried about their futures as well. This mutual understanding is essential… We need a chance, but we need their knowledge. Having 20+ years worth of institutional knowledge is much, much more valuable than we think.

    As a side note – I’ve been in government for less than a year.

  • #142163

    Natia Johnson
    Participant

    Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I just wish most of the opinions that I read and hear were not negatively directed towards younger workers and their grade levels.

    To become a GS 11, it only requires one year of experience at the GS 9 level. To become a 12 or 13, it also requires only one year of experience at the next lower level. You can be automatically promoted to a GS-13 if the position is a 12/13. I had to compete for the position I am in now, so competing is expected when I apply for a position. Did you think that I believed I would not have to compete?

    I never said get rid of older workers. I actually believe that we need their knowledge and expertise in every agency. I was addressing the comments that were made regarding younger workers being hired at higher levels. A GS-5 for a college grad is ridiculous. I understand that many workers started at a GS 5, but times have changed. I know a few people who started at higher levels than I did and they have proven to be deserving of that higher level position.

    My point is that young people can do the work, so why should we be looked down on for applying, qualifying, and competing for a higher level position?

  • #142161

    Anonymous

    @Russell, Very well said and so true.

  • #142159

    Russell Maltempo
    Participant

    Wow.

    “A GS-5 for a college grad is ridiculous.” The GS-5 was made specifically for the average college graduate (Bachelors), GS-7’s for the exceptional scholars (Bachelors), GS-9/11 for Masters (2 years or degree). So right now you’re in a GS-11… and you have a Master’s degree, right? Plus 3-4 years experience? Seems like you fit in perfectly with OPM’s guidelines on grade level. That would also be equivalent of a Bachelor’s plus 5 years of experience.

    If older people in your agency is responding unkindly to the fact that you worked your butt off to get your Masters and competed for the higher grade, then leave that to them. We can’t change their attitudes. It will be upon our generation to show by example that we CAN lead. What you have done for yourself is a great accomplishment.

    As for people “looking down” at our generation… that’s not likely to change unless our entire generation gets rid of our sense of entitlements such as “GS-5 is ridiculous for a college grad”. We don’t deserve respect. We earn it. We’ll need to earn it the hard way, just like every other generation before us.

    And I also never said “get rid” of older workers. I said that every organization has an older generation that feels “entitled” to their great pay and benefits for as long as they want. Multiply that factor into the Baby Boomer generation, and that shows why the youth have difficulty in getting positions… they’re working longer. (This route of conversation goes down the topic of fully funding social security, lowering the retirement age, etc… which is a completely different but relevant route of conversation…)

    Anyways. I admire you, Natia, for fighting for what you have and want.

  • #142157

    Natia Johnson
    Participant

    No, I did not have experience. I was offered two other GS-12 positions while I was working on my Master’s degree, but the postions were going to be relocated (BRAC) in 9 months to another state. Trust me, it took alot of No’s to find an agency that was willing to say ‘Yes’ and pay me for what I believe I was worth, but I never gave up. I was not going to settle for anything. So, I patiently waited as I worked side by side with the government as a contractor.

    Thanks for the convo.

  • #142155

    Peggy Nypaver
    Participant

    I’ve been a full-time recruiter for the past 4 years and have attended many college/university orientations, employer panels, advising meetings and career fairs. This has given me an opportunity to see how the private sector recruits students. I would like to see Federal agencies recruit for the new Pathway Program (internships & recent graduate entry-level positions) during the fall recruiting season. Colleges/universities’ career services provide ample opportunities for employers to recruit their students and students are actively seeking internships and full-time positions during this time. If we miss this recruiting window, many of the brightest students have already committed to other positions. Government pay and benefits compare favorably with many private sector opportunities, and we have the ability to compete right there with them. However, if we fail to recruit when other top-notch employers recruit, we’ll be missing the boat…

  • #142153

    Sandra Lou Ceballos
    Participant

    I’m retired Army, and a former fed GS 11, I have been trying to return to the Government for almost 2 years, have applied for over 300 jobs, and have talked with every special program coordinator in the DC area and have received no help from anyone, so if the government has recruiters, how do you find out where they are.

  • #142151

    Christine Jacobs
    Participant

    Hey gang:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on this thread. Again, you are welcome to come to Brookings tomorrow for our event addressing some of these issues. Free breakfast and lunch – come and go as you please.

    Hope to see you there.

  • #142149

    Julie Chase
    Participant

    Wow, Natia, good for you. In my neck of the woods, the economy is the pits, and most college grads will take any govie job to get their foot in the door. Russell is correct about GS5 pay for Bachelors Degree…..and so up the line. I am guessing you aren’t working for DoD at any military installation, because there is no way they would take a college grad at that level. I am guessing you work for gov agency somewhere on the beltway, as that is the only place where civil servants make money with the drive and desire. It baffles me really, because a GS5 admin or clerk in the same series doing the same job makes close to twice what I get and a gov paid blackberry to boot. But I don’t have crime problems, the traffic problems, the terriorist problems and all that plagues DC. That is what keeps me here. I don’t supervise anyone and I don’t care to. I leave everyday, close the door, and work is work, and home is home. I don’t take my work home, I don’t ask for overtime, I don’t ask for comptime, I arrive on the clock and leave on the clock. As for my college grad son, well, there is a hiring freeze, so “no one” is getting hired. Pathways is very far down the road, so he is now looking at other alternatives. If he walked into HRO asked for a GS11/12 job, they would laugh in his face. With this economy, you get what you can, and like it.

  • #142147

    Julie Chase
    Participant

    Peggy, that would be great. The Pathways Program just might miss that window and it’s fading fast. My son attended career fairs while in college, and lo and behold, the government (with a military installations within 50 miles on all sides) was not present. Even the WPA wasn’t there. It is true there are students committed to other positions…in the private sector. I had the chance to speak to some of my sons classmates at graduation and they said the government would be last on their list of places to work. They know about Vet Pref, they know the gov is on shakey ground with hiring freezes, salary freezes, cuts in benefits, restructuring of the retirement system. They basically thought my son was crazy for even considering working for the government. College students are well tuned into to what is happening, and they are going to private sector based on their own personal goals.

  • #142145

    Peggy Nypaver
    Participant

    You are right – attending events and interacting with students, professors, and career services on a regular basis is important. IRS is actually doing a great job building relationships with certain schools (i.e., core and priority schools). Even when we are not actively hiring, we are working on cultivating relationships to market the IRS to help build a talent pipeline so we’ll be in a good position when we get back to hiring.

  • #142143

    Robert Eckhardt
    Participant

    what does #2 even mean in plain English.

  • #142141

    Nateria Dickey
    Participant

    Very well said with regard to finding the “right people” for the “right job.” I suppose time will tell how the government handles this time of change. It is definately coming, in our agency I think nearly 60% are eligible to retire, we have zero session plans, and nearly every person eligible to retire is taking 20-30 yrs of experience with them. Some call it a “brain drain,” while it is probably true younger generations will move up faster than they ever have before in government, they will need the “right people” to carry out the missions others started. Younger generations will have to do more with less, be innovative, creative, think out side of the box and challenge the way things have always been done in the past. To attract the right people, I think the government should move to a more flexible and modern structure by incorporating telework, leadership programs, idea networks, volunteer clouds, mentoring and other challenges that help employees grow and develop. Though some of these are currently available, managment resistance is still high. Until managers are willing to accept change and adapt to the changing times, there will be barriers in the system forcing out “the right people”.

  • #142139

    Colleen Ayers
    Participant

    “Why do millenials expect to get the 9/11/12 jobs right out of college? No one in my generation did. College grads started out as 5’s and worked their way up.”

    There’s been a lot of discussion about this already, but I have to chime in – some of it has absolutely nothing to do with the “grade” but the level of pay, and whether it’s enough to cover the cost of paying our student loans. Now, granted, I have graduate loans I’m paying off too, but after several years in the government, I still live paycheck to paycheck because almost half of my after-tax income goes straight to my student loan payments. As a 9 in my first year, I had to beg for overtime work because otherwise I would have needed to take a second job to get grocery money.

    Maybe some are thinking with an entitlement mindframe; but I’ll bet my next student loan payment that it’s more about a generation leaving school with more debt than their parents owe on their mortgages than anything else.

  • #142137

    Paul
    Participant

    First we need to get out of worrying about being young…Let us worry about skills, knowledge and abilities and then add on if they are trainable! The age pool of workers is aging very fast and the young pool is very small.

    the way we are forced to work staffing compared to the private sector is so different. We need to adopt the processes that the civilian sector has in place then we can be competitive.

  • #142135

    Peter Sperry
    Participant

    Sorry, but anyone who is unwilling to do the “extrodinarily time consuming” work required to apply for a career which can lead to a six figure salary with some of the most generous retirement and healthcare benefits available today, will probably be unwilling to do the extrodinarily time consuming work required to provide excellence in government service. Yes, the application process screens out those without drive and persistance. That is a feature, not a bug.

  • #142133

    Russell Maltempo
    Participant

    I understand it’s a “feature” to weed out those who are unwilling to go through the slog. There is also a permanence within federal employment which is not met in the private industry, so understandably there’s a higher bar and a larger barrier to entry.

    I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories of people gaining permanent status and then suddenly lacking in drive or persistence. If the feature is to weed people like that out, then it fails at looking at the long-term ability to maintain drive and persistance. The hiring process therefore needs agility and flexibility. There has to be a balance between looking for drive and persistance with intellect, ethics, and creativity.

  • #142131

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    It is the very permanence which protracts and burdens the process. One colleague at DHS quaintly and succinctly described the goal to me as “avoiding a 30-year mistake”. I don’t think the bar is set all THAT high (that isn’t meant as a slight, just a recognition that the FPS is just regular bright folks and not some master race). Rather, there are usually a broad set of accountabilities that need to be factored in. Everybody involved on the organizational side of things has to be able to demonstrate to the appropriate people that they are doing things appropriately…and that takes time. It would be “interesting” to take a sabbatical year from that, and just see what happens and how much it costs, when those involved in hiring are simply allowed to hire folks as they see fit, without having to prove/validate anything to anyone. I’m not so sure taxpayers would be willing to take that chance, though.

    Recruits DO lose their sense of urgency about the work when they eventually begin to understand the “hurry-up-and-wait” aspects of federal work, but that is not an aspect or influence on the manner in which hiring is conducted. It’s just something largely unavoidable that happens with time.

    One of the major areas of study of our work unit is “time to staff” (I should have a paper on it coming out later this year or early next). There are several perspectives to look at, when it comes to slowness. One is most certainly that of the applicant, who thinks in terms of the time it takes between submitting an application and when they finally find out what their status in the process is. We see that younger people tend to have far more irons in the fire, and that, regardless of age, those who have more concurrent applications out tend to be more impatient about the time it takes. Those who end up being successful are less impatient when asked to provide retrospective judgment than unsuccessful candidates, but they ALL want to know where they stand as soon as possible, presumably so they can make decisions about what to do next. I will note that people who are already in government tend to reduce their application behavior after a couple years, and are more patient about how long it takes, largely because they are aiting around for an answer from a position of strength (i.e., they HAVE a job). Note that external recruitment makes up the smaller share of federal staffing activity, compared to promotions, lateral moves, and such.

  • #142129

    Natia Johnson
    Participant

    I agree with you Colleen. If you start out as a GS 5, you will not make enough money to cover graduate loans and other bills.

  • #142127

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    Well that’s the interesting policy challenge, at least with respect to publicly funded institutions. On the one hand, students need to cover their fair share of the costs of their education. My experience also tells me that, within certain limits, higher tuition costs lead students to take that education more seriously. So making post-secondary education dirt cheap gets the nation/state/institution into hot water.

    At the same time, one has to ask the question of whether overly burdensome educational debt has a deleterious effect on society at large. You have to wonder whether the anticipated gains in productivity by having a more educated workforce are possibly undermined by the social costs of people who keep looking for or moving from job to job so they can defray the accrued costs of that education. Do we create an unintended impatience and restlessness in the workforce by making them start out their working lives not only later but deeply in debt?

    A related matter is the way in which accrued student debt, and especially deferral of entry into the workforce (by taking time to acquire that education), and deferral of major life-stage expenditures, and commencement of serious saving for retirement, can have an impact on subsequent generations of retirees.

    Of course, now I’ve drifted off the topic of improving federal hiring, and in the direction of complex social influences of tuition costs and educational requirements.

    Carry on.

  • #142125

    Julie Chase
    Participant

    If you want a higher salary, I suggest you all should stay in DC. My son is a recent college graduate and his living expenses are cut to the bone, because he is living at home. He only has to repay 2 yrs worth of students loans, vs. 4, 5 or 6. He started in Community College and worked part time, all of which went to for school and books, he left there and spent the remaining years as a transfer student to a large university. He also paid off his car. He will take gladly take a GS05. With this economy comes “boomerang” kids. The only debt he will carry, is the student loan. With his foot in the door, he can move on and out from there. Now if Uncle Sam would let go of the hiring freeze at military installations….that would be great.

  • #142123

    Molly Walker
    Participant

    Assessment tools used in the hiring process seem to be hindering government’s progress.

    I reported on the Brookings event Christine mentions above, here. During the discussion, Dave Uejio, president of Young Government Leaders said non-profits, such as Teach for America, are eating government’s lunch when it comes to recruitment/hiring. He pointed to the superior assessment tools used by the organization.

    “I think across government, we really severely under resource not only how we do assessments, but really what a good assessment looks like, I think, is somewhat in dispute,” said Uejio.

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