Federal Recruiting Innovation - The Latest Tools

July 26, 2016


In this week’s blog, I’ll wrap up the three-part series about solving federal talent recruitment challenges. This is no easy task, of course, especially with limited government resources and time. Let’s take a deeper look at solutions that enable you to focus on the candidates who most closely match your requirements, versus everyone that applies.


Assessments: Finding the Needle in the Haystack 

The most salient point I can make about talent is that given the choice between a) a pipeline with 5000 applicants screened only by questions in the application; or b) a list of 75 applicants screened by external assessments such as a Realistic Job Preview; personality assessment based on key traits aligned with the job requirements; and/or simulation; I would pick b and take the much smaller pool of candidates who have been thoroughly screened.


Why? Attracting candidates isn’t the problem. Attracting qualified candidates is. I’d rather get to the people I may want to hire faster — before they’re off the market — and leave the unqualified candidates for a future better matching role or for someone else. These are some of my favorite screening tools:

  • Realistic Job Preview (RJP) – For positions with high volume hiring, using a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) is a great strategy for screening out candidates who aren’t going to be a good fit or are more likely to turnover in the first six months. Often developed by talent assessment firms, the RJP can come in many forms. For the current job market — and to attract Millennials — online videos have high receptivity among candidates, as they provide a preview of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the role. This gives candidates a great way to decide whether to move forward based on a deeper understanding about the role than they get from just the traditional, written vacancy announcement. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) successfully uses the RJP for two high volume hiring roles.

  • Job simulation – Creating a job simulation for high volume hiring roles is a great way to assess candidate capabilities and fit for the job. A simulation also enables candidates to experience the role to determine whether to move forward in the application process. The Merit Systems Protection Board has written papers about the effectiveness of simulation tools as effective assessments in the screening process for federal jobs. To see an example of an online job simulation developed by Aon,   contact me and I will email you a link.

  • Online assessments – Assessments for high volume roles or for a single position are a highly effective way to screen for traits, characteristics and attributes needed to be successful on the job. Many firms offer screening assessments online for all levels and types of positions. They can be sent to the candidate once he has applied and meets minimum qualifications.Most assessments are easily integrated into the applicant tracking system (ATS) or through USAJobs. Using a computer adaptive test ensures that test items are randomly generated so that each candidate has a different assessment experience and questions can’t be shared. If you’ve been using an assessment that isn’t computer adaptive, you might want to search on YouTube to see if the assessment questions have been shared from a previous candidate. Firms like PDRI and Aon,both considered leaders in the field of talent assessment, have a wide offering of off-the-shelf assessments as well as options for custom assessments.

Interviewing: expediting the Process Virtually

For recruiters and hiring managers, the interview process is tedious and time consuming – yet a critical step in the hiring process! One of my favorite interview tools is HireVue, a leading on demand digital interviewing platform among a variety of solutions on the market. When you want and need convenience and consistency, digital interviews allow you to develop a set of questions for a vacancy and send all candidates the link to record a response to each question.


If you’re in HR and working with a hiring manager that travels extensively or has a full schedule, imagine having the ability to watch video interviews on your smart phone (or computer) of candidates responding to consistent questions and being able to forward the interviews to the hiring manager or other team members.


Most candidates say they would prefer meeting with a hiring manager in person. However, given the choice between doing a video interview to expedite the hiring process versus waiting an extended time to be scheduled for an interview, candidates are far more interested in and engaged with an expedited process! And, Millennials in particular are big fans of using technology.


CRM – Candidate Relationship Management

For several years, the concept of Customer Relationship Management has been applied to the recruiting arena. The many solutions on the market enable organizations to manage, track, and engage with candidates. Potential employers also can use the systems to run targeted email campaigns, communicating with specific candidates about roles that may be of interest or providing content to keep them “warm” for upcoming hiring needs. A CRM typically allows for scheduling of emails based on talent pipeline membership, which can be particularly advantageous for high volume hiring, or at specific times.


We hope you found these ideas useful! If you didn’t catch our prior blogs, you might be interested in part 2 in particular, which was focused on some of the most innovative recruiting tools and resources on the market.


Thanks for dropping by! We’ll continue to share ideas, solutions and best practices for recruiting and hiring talent. If you have any area of interest you’d like to see us address or any questions, feel free to  contact me .


Please share this with colleagues who may be interested – and thanks again!  By the way, I am late with this blog as I just returned from a cooking and wine tour in Italy – but now I’ll be back on schedule again!





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