Federal Talent: Connecting the Dots (Part 2)

June 21, 2016




Since I started this two-part blog series on solving federal recruitment challenges, I’ve been so excited about this particular blog to have the platform to share a wide range of innovative tools and resources for recruiting.  In most cases, I’ll provide a link for you to more thoroughly check out these great resources for yourself.


I’d like to share a  point of clarification before we begin.  Whether it’s a myth or urban legend, I’m repeatedly told that federal hiring regulations preclude HR from reaching out to prospective candidates on LinkedIn (or any other source) to direct recruit by sharing the agency mission and presenting a job they might want to explore.  This is not true – as long as direct sourcing and recruiting activities occur before the vacancy is posted to USAJobs.  What does this mean for your agency?  If you have a position that has been challenging to fill, you can go online and start searching for candidates!


Vacancy Announcements — Scoring for Effectiveness

There are so many compelling recruiting tools and resources available. I had to choose, however, so I decided to highlight those that have caught my eye.  Let’s start at the beginning with the vacancy announcement.  Have you read some of the announcements on USAJobs? Oh my – there’s often so much govspeaklanguage that most people outside of government wouldn’t understand what they were reading.  To attract those outside of government, including Millennials, the vacancy announcement should engage the reader with descriptive language about the role, expectations, and requirements.  The language should be clear and easy to understand.


That said, there also are words or phrases in job descriptions that can show an unintended bias.  Women and minorities may read certain words that then cause them to unconsciously view the job as a poor fit.  Companies such as Unitive and Textio provide software that identifies potentially biased phrases and words associated with gender stereotypes, and provides new words to use instead.  Subtleties in words used in a vacancy announcement can push great candidates away without your knowledge.  Textio, for example, will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your vacancy announcement and score the strength of your announcement overall.


All the Buzz:  Social Media

Once your vacancy announcement is ready —but before it is posted live on USAJobs and any other job sites —it’s important to make sure you’re developing, engaging and growing your candidate talent pool.  Connect with your agency social media team for guidance about the most effective use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest (yes – Pinterest for recruiting!), YouTube and other channels.  Leveraging social media, within the framework of your agency’s policies, is part of a long-term strategy best used for building employer brand awareness and developing a talent pool to draw upon for future opportunities.


In addition, I suggest you make sure you know what’s being posted about your agency online. Have you checked out your agency’s profile on GlassDoor to see what candidates are saying?  Candidates can be brutally honest about their experiences in exploring an opportunity with any organization, and often share their perspectives with other potential candidates online.


Here are a few more innovative tools and platforms that pertain to social media:

  • If you’ve gotten frustrated searching on LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media platforms for candidate profiles tied to particular skill sets, an easy tool (that’s also free!) is called Recruit'em.  You can select the social network to search, and it provides search terms and conducts a Google search that results in profiles that meet your criteria.  I tried it and I love seeing a familiar search list from Google as well as the ability to save the search for later.  Did I mention it’s free?

  • Social recruiting platforms such as Bullhorn Reach and Jobvite Engage simplify the process for posting vacancies on social media sites and job boards. They provide an easy way to create and manage talent pools of prospective candidates. Jobvite, among other products, also has a tool to power employee referrals and sharing across employee social networks!  No one knows your culture and needs better than your own employees, so cultivating referrals from existing employees is a great way to build the talent pool!

Predictive Tools: A Glimpse into the Future!

One of the most innovative (and most out of the box thinking) recruiting tools I’ve seen is from a company called HowToHire.Me.  I’ll explain it this way:

  • Start with the premise that most organizations want to hire highly qualified, motivated, inspired and engaged candidates; and that candidates generally want to find meaningful purpose driven work where they can make a contribution.

  • Every person is so much more than the words on the resume. Think about a genome as an organism’s complete set of DNA and all the information needed to build that organism.

  • With that in mind, HowToHire.Me created the SuccessGenome™, which considers all factors that enable a job match with a high degree of predictive capability to ensure the candidate will be a high performer within the organization’s culture. They developed a platform that uses leading edge neural systems and artificial intelligence to discover, assemble, and verify candidates.

I’ve met with the founders multiple times and each time walk away realizing that eventually the day will come where resumes will no longer exist.  With multiple applications for the SuccessGenome, it’s pretty exciting what lies ahead!


I hope that Part 2 of this blog series provided some insights on tools and resources available to use for your recruiting.  In Part 3 of this blog series, the wrap up on tools and resources, we’ll cover topics such as assessments, interviewing and more!  Plus, we’ll share our results from our recent poll, so stay tuned.  For any organization, there isn’t a template to follow using tools and resources that will work for all recruiting needs.  But they can enhance the effectiveness of how you execute against your overall recruitment strategy.


Thank you for reading! See you next time.



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