Insights and Inspiration from Federal Government Recruiters

May 10, 2011

The 2011 Federal Government Human Capital Strategy Day last week provided an interesting mix of perspectives on hiring reform, social networks, and talent management. John Berry, head of United States Office of Personnel Management, was in attendance, along with several Chief Human Capital Officers. The overall themes included:

  1. How do Federal Agencies cope with hiring reform?
  2. What does it take to “pitch” professionals on working for the government?
  3. Social media and its increasing role in recruitment

My presentation on “Hiring to Win” was (by design) not focused on hiring—not even on any “process” or workflow. Rather, my suggestion is that recruiting is Art joined with Science. You cannot target veterans or diverse groups of professionals without both. You cannot attract the top recent college grads and tell them how great it is to work for the Government with a “process.” It seems my theory resonated with the audience of more than 150 feds, as the discussion is most certainly continuing on my end.

I was joined by Jaqi Ross, the Recruitment Media leader at the Internal Revenue Service. I listened to her inspirational talk that promoted innovation in all that we do: our career, our life, our hobbies. A student of Krav Maga and trapeze, Jaqi weaved into her talk some very poignant points to consider—one of which was to be brave and innovate at work and at life. Impressive coming from a federal recruitment leader.

Jaqi summarized a study by the Hay Group and the Partnership for Public Service, whose analysis revealed that the most innovative leaders in the Federal Government created “pockets of innovation” and essentially refused to be stopped by the standard obstacles that exist. In short, the most innovative leaders in Government don’t follow the rules prescribed and they don’t fear change; rather, they appear to embrace it like a trapeze artist swinging on a wire fifty feet above the ground.

Jaqi and her team, along with strategic counsel from TMP Government, have launched innovative Recruitment Marketing vehicles on LinkedIn and elsewhere on the web. You can see some examples here, as well as on any one of the more than 10,000 IRS employee member profiles on LinkedIn.

In short, the content at the summit was excellent and the participants were a smart group of leaders and future change agents as far as Federal Talent acquisition is concerned.  And the best news is, the network growth on in the DC Metro area continues to top the charts.