Here's How We Might Improve Early Career Recruitment for Federal Jobs – GovExec.com

Targeted adjustments to the language used in job announcements can have a significant impact on who learns about open positions and who decides to apply. Geri Lavrov/Getty Images

Sydney Heimbrock
In our new normal, job candidates are reassessing how and where they want to work and live. All industries are experiencing fast shifts in the workplace, but the public sector confronts particular challenges in attracting and hiring top talent. In fact, a recent Qualtrics survey found that less than half of recent graduates consider the federal government for employment opportunities. Yet attrition from government agencies has increased significantly in recent years, causing longstanding skills gaps to get worse.
In order to fill mission critical jobs, meet new workforce expectations, and inspire the next generation of future leaders, the federal government must focus on recruitment as a high priority issue. Agency leaders must commit to taking the necessary steps to better encourage early career employees to pursue public service as a lucrative and meaningful career. Understanding the gap between early career employees’ expectations and current recruitment and hiring practices is the first critical step.
Simplify Job Announcement Language
Prospective employees read job announcements in order to decide whether to apply based on their qualifications and career goals. But government job announcements are often filled with off-putting administrative language that doesn’t clearly convey the specific skills the agency is hiring for, and instead uses traditional degree programs as a qualification requirement. As a result, current student and recent graduate survey respondents said they would not consider applying to a government job because they don’t feel qualified. When asked to rank the top reasons preventing them from applying, respondents listed years of experience, required skills, and required credentials as the top barriers. Listing formal academic criteria is counterproductive to attracting diverse individuals who have unique knowledge and skillsets through nontraditional schooling, such as certification and vocational training. 
Early career professionals are also looking for purpose-driven work. Organizational values have risen in importance as millennial and Generation Z workers consider their career paths. Targeted adjustments to the language used in job announcements can have a significant impact on who learns about open positions and who decides to apply. These modifications can be as basic as highlighting the mission-oriented nature of the work and showing career advancement opportunities.
Meet Prospective Talent Where They Are
The biggest appeal to both students and graduates entering the workforce is maintaining a good work-life balance, according to the Qualtrics research. Compared to other attributes such as job security, benefits, and office location, work-life balance and remote work had the largest impact on deciding whether to pursue a job in government. For many jobs, working remotely has become standard practice. Even new work arrangements that allow employees to live and work anywhere are offered by several private-sector companies.
Unfortunately, many government organizations continue to apply traditional models of onsite work to jobs that could be performed remotely, forcing employees to come to the office regardless of their expectations and needs. Instead of making rigid policies that ignore human experience, the government must try its best to meet employees where they are in life. Employees’ preferences shift over time and in response to changing life experiences. It won’t be successful to implement work policies in a one-size-fits-all manner. While not all federal roles can be done remotely, it’s still crucial that agencies make an honest attempt to evaluate the assumptions, norms, and rules that underpin those practices.
Redress How Minority Graduates Perceive Government Careers
Another significant hurdle stems from potential candidates having previous negative interactions with agencies. When these experiences involve the applicant themselves, or perhaps someone they know, early-career individuals can be much less likely to think of the federal government as a desirable place to work. 
These customer experience gaps deter minority graduate candidates in particular, with 60% of minority graduates surveyed saying they would not apply for a federal job. Minorities’ perceptions of the federal government are reflected in the fact that minority graduates were the least likely to apply for a federal job, according to the research. 
The federal government has historically been a place where systematically disadvantaged groups could find employment in a safe environment, with a liveable wage and benefits – which some private sector companies, even today, do not provide. Federal agencies need to understand and meet the needs of the many diverse communities they serve in order to attract a diverse workforce. They also must diversify the leadership ranks in order to demonstrate to early career employees that they can recognize themselves in the organization.
Small Changes Lead to Big Improvements
The federal government plays a pivotal role in the day-to-day life of millions of people. Building pipelines of diverse, top-talent candidates is critical for mission success. By designing recruitment experiences that resonate with that talent, and that clearly communicate job requirements and organizational culture, agency leaders can ensure a diverse workforce is ready to serve the American people. 
Sydney Heimbrock is chief industry advisor for Government at Qualtrics, where she uses her global experience transforming governments through investments in workforce development and policy reform to help federal, state and local government organizations design experiences that build public trust.
NEXT STORY: GovExec Daily: Diversity and Inclusion Are Key Parts of Modern Management
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.
Manage Consent Preferences
Strictly Necessary Cookies – Always Active
We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.
Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies
Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link
If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.
Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.
Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.
If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings

Cookie List
A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:
Strictly Necessary Cookies
We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.
Functional Cookies
We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.
Performance Cookies
We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.
Sale of Personal Data
We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.
Social Media Cookies
We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.
Targeting Cookies
We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.
Help us tailor content specifically for you:

source

Leave a Comment