Government Needs to Play Catch Up in Hiring

The US Federal Government is about to undertake one of the largest hiring initiatives in its history.

According to the Wall Street Journal, over the next three years, the government will attempt to attract nearly 270,000 talented specialists in various fields across the board, including the health, financial and administrative sectors. The difference between this government hiring initiative and the recruiting processes of old, is this time Uncle Sam will be actively seeking qualified candidates instead of passively sitting on his laurels.

What has prompted this large scale hiring campaign? One factor is certainly Mr. Obama's ambitions to take on such looming problems like health care reform and the economic downturn. And what better way is there to combat long-term problems than to get the younger generation's brighest minds involved? How else can we expect to positively affect the future of our government than to actively seek the best talent for the jobs of the future?

In order for this massive job overhaul to occur successfully, our government will need to implement some much needed change to its hiring process. 'They' are already on their way to cleaning out some dusty corners, but just to make it clear, I've listed two points that can help us move toward a new breed of government hiring.


The brand marketing of the various government sectors seeking qualified candidates will be integral to attracting talent. We don't often hear about 'branding' in reference to government work (outside of the military). When the younger generation thinks about a federal employee, they most often picture a white-collar bloke sitting in a musty office with no windows, slowly filing through a stack of paperwork.

The bad stigma that goes along with federal jobs is a major hurdle that the government needs to overcome in order to compete with the private sector for the best talent. Why was working at Google such a hot commodity at the start of the decade? Company branding: they were known for a laid back work 'campus,' rife with badminton courts, plush bean bag chairs and organic gardens. Today, many other companies looking to attract younger talent have also implemented the 'Google Campus Model.'

Our government needs to concentrate on marketing to a new generation of talent. Good benefits and patriotism are not currently enough to compete with the private sector.


Sure, the US government is known for some of the most innovative, expensive and mind blowing technologies the world has ever seen. But when it comes to a new generation of internet tech, they are still playing catch up. The Obama administration has certainly made big steps between its acceptance of social networking tools and the current planned overhaul of .gov portals, however it needs to concentrate on other specific tools that are giving the private sector a big advantage in talent acquisition.

New applicant tracking and hiring software solutions are allowing private companies to better announce job openings, track qualified candidates, and analyze source data to optimize the recruiting process. If the government really wants to compete with the private sector for top talent, they will need to embrace the technologies currently utilized in the private sector.

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