One of the largest problems government agencies face when hiring is the hiring process itself.  There’s plenty of complaints to go around.  It is complicated.  It takes more than six months in many cases.  The candidates forwarded by human resources departments aren’t qualified for the job, and if any are, they’ve accepted an offer elsewhere by the time you are cleared to offer them the position.

Unfortunately, for most agencies there are no ways around these facts.  The government has been trying to reform hiring processes for decades, and each time the cure is somehow worse than the disease for many of the affected agencies.

There are a few things you can do to get better results from the hiring process, however.

Work with your agency’s HR specialist before you design the job announcement.

Ask them if you are structuring the vacancy announcement for the maximum impact.  They have a better understanding than anyone else about what has worked for hiring at your agency and what hasn’t.  They often have a pretty good idea of what types of candidates a document will yield, even if it’s not apparent to anyone else that a job announcement will run into problems.

Make sure your job announcement isn’t written too narrow – or too broad.

A recent article in GovExec magazine highlights the outcome of each of these errors.  One person who was writing job descriptions too generally complained they were getting bomb disposal techs on financial job candidate lists.  This ‘bomb disposal’ part was due to a preference for veterans – pretty much everyone was qualifying for the job as written, including plenty of veterans who were receiving extra points due to their service and being pushed to the top of candidate lists.

On the other hand, an HR executive with experience in government hiring also warned about what she called “Sourcing a Unicorn” – packing a job description with requirements that a perfect candidate would have.  With unemployment under 5%, if you’re taking this approach, be prepared to wait an eternity for a qualified job applicant.

Find and use the training resources at your disposal.

The Office of Personnel Management has an initiative called Hiring Excellence which is designed to help HR specialists get the best results out of the federal hiring process.  The website for this program has an “Explore Tools & Resources” section that provides suggestions on recruitment strategy, collaboration with hiring managers, and hiring authorities that may help speed this process along.  Even if you’re not an HR specialist, you’ll likely learn more about building a process that yields the best candidates for positions you’re trying to fill.  If you work at a state agency, your state Human Resources group may have similar support resources.

To learn more about how CMTS can help your agency with a better case management platform, call us at 919.600.5131 or email us at