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Public Sector Recruitment

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Becky Gaylord

on 24 July 2013

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Transcript of Public Sector Recruitment

Your recruiting process should say to the candidate, “How’d you like to be part of our community, do neat things together, grow individually and with your peers?”

—Tom Peters

Human Resource Management in Public Service:

What Public Administrators Need to Know and Do
Before Hiring Anyone
First, a few things NOT to do when recruiting...
Why Recruiting is So Important
Work is complex, customized and rapidly changing.

Only with highly skilled staff—human capital— can organizations thrive when.

What is Recruiting?
What are the three main steps?

"Recruitment provides information about available positions and encourages qualified candidates to apply."
Recruitment Strategies
Advice. . . and your experiences
Costs and Consequences of Bad Recruiting
Recruiting is
often an agency's
weakest function
, government analysis has found
Hires who aren't
Public sector HR rules mean...
bad recruiting is
expensive, drawn out and disruptive
to try to fix
Hires who
don't fit
with the culture, team or other critical element of the work.
Had been

~> Federal agencies not allowed to advertise jobs in newspapers until the 1950s!
Highly negative and legalistic, often ‘turned off’ applicants, contributed to perception of
excessive red tape*

known as proceduralism.

Public-sector jobs have
lost prestige
Public servants can be
by elected officials and
starved of resources
needed for their work
And their
pay lags
private peers, a competitive disadvantage
traditionally... many
with public-sector recruiting
to make civil service processes neutral, fair

led to rigidity, formalism
no longer basis for public sector selection, yet. . .

Patronage jobs still among most influential in Washington.
though . . .
Entrepreneurial recruitment practices

Using hiring efficiency and test flexibility

Tapping the Internet to disseminate information and to process applicant data
Different ways, approaches
pool recruiting
~> many openings, especially entry level
depends on
job and organization
individual recruiting
~> just one job or in small agency
Same 3 main steps
Regardless of recruiting method

Plan, Approve Position
Prepare Position Announcement
Execute Strategy Selected
# 1
# 2
# 3
Plan, Approve Position
labor market survey
needs assessment
environmental scan
Trouble shooting, problem-solving best done
at this stage
Case Study from chapter four
Well-run organizations use many kinds of planning
Think about:
future needs
"True strategic planning requires research
original thinking
willingness to change"
Helpful tools:
Ask. . .
any mandated changes to mission?
job market tight or not?
many retirements ahead?
pressures from external trends?
Flaws such as
best candidates don’t apply
better applicants find other jobs by time position gets offered
new workers don’t fit in, unqualified
The Background:

An example of a strategic problem comes from a midlevel information technology manager arguing with his supervisor about whether to hire an underqualified but high-potential candidate. The supervisor’s view was that such employees take at least 3 months to have marginal utility and 6 months to perform at standard. Furthermore, some never come up to speed but rather plateau at a low performance level. The midlevel manager’s position was that the unit had five open positions, was struggling to keep up with a rapidly expanding workload, and found that fully qualified personnel were simply not applying, despite a new, higher pay level.

What Would You Do?
Last part of this step:

Get authority to hire
or adjust job.
Missing paperwork
or detail slows down or
stops process
Key point:

Ask rigorous questions about positions
actually recruiting
Prepare Position Announcement
Execute Strategy
Use planning/framing of steps #1 and #2 to implement #3
Use the planning to guide this step:

Each aspect ~~ including title, pay range, duties, reporting structure, classification ~~ should be already decided.
Be clear with application instructions!
by Becky Gaylord McDonald
legal requirements
to include in position announcements.
Review carefully!

Misstatements become legally binding

Errors make the agency look unprofessional
• Title and agency affiliation
• Salary range
• Description of job duties
• Minimum qualifications
• Special conditions
• Application procedures
• Equal Opportunity Employment

Other suggestions from Merit Systems Protection Review Board:
• Slash the length of vacancy announcements

• Avoid negative, threatening, and legalistic language

• Design a message to sell the job and the agency and, to the extent possible, to present the agency as the employer of choice

• Clearly and realistically describe the job and its requirements

• Require the least amount of information needed to make basic qualification determinations; seek more information as needed later in the process

• Give straightforward instructions on how to apply
Many aspects affect recruiting.
Some (not all) can be addressed.
Size of Labor Pool
Breadth, Quality of the process
Location, Quality of Jobs
Economic Cycle
Pay, Benefits and the Agency's Image
Current Skills
Future Potential
Open recruitment, to encourages broader pool, fresh ideas


closed recruitment, to reward service and loyalty
Questions to consider. . .
Generalist or Specialist?
Also, ask:

Which area to focus on?
(1) knowledge, skills, and abilities;
(2) motivation;
(3) diversity and broad representation of minority and protected classes; or,
(4) loyalty?

“Certainly technical skills are important, but it is quite possible to hire an employee who is well qualified yet who is poorly motivated, contributes to a racial or gender imbalance, and is not loyal.”
{a table to help with the decisions....}
Use Timely Notification, Prompt Follow Up. Aim to Minimize Applicant's Anxiety.

Provide Feedback. Don't String Applicants Along. Once Eliminated, Let Them Know.

Offer Detailed Information that Allows for Realistic
Assumptions About the Position.

Use Credible, Enthusiastic Representatives to Recruit.

Tips for job seekers from the authors:
** Network, network, network.

** Plan transition from job seeker to career strategist and caretaker.

** Assess your strengths, weaknesses and then correct or get training for the areas that are critically important.
Human Resource Management in Public Service:
Paradoxes, Processes, and Problems
{summary of chapter 4}
Evan M. Berman , James S. Bowman, Jonathan P. West, Montgomery R. Van Wart Sage, 4th Ed., 2013
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