Data and Digital Drive Federal Recruiting Strategy

Agencies need to leverage digital recruiting initiatives and enhanced data techniques to better attract talented and diverse personnel, according to human relations professionals at several Federal agencies speaking at a FedInsider webinar held May 31.

“It wasn’t so long ago that we were able to post a job announcement and receive hundreds of applicants and have a whole bunch of folks to choose from,” said Dr. Robert Smith, director of national recruitment at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DH) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) organization. “We realize that today, we have to capitalize on what the digital marketing and advertising does for us.”

Smith said social media and job boards are helping CBP reach potential applicants. Elsewhere, Federal agencies are using digital recruiting to shape their image.

“NGA [the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency] doesn’t have a really robust [brand], and we’re increasing our presence,” said Ellen Ardrey, associate director of support at NGA. “We’ve had tremendous success in bringing in new occupations that we would not have traditionally recruited for.”

As agencies embrace digital recruiting techniques, they can use the available data to hone and perfect their recruiting strategies.

“Data is king here,” said Angela Bailey, chief human capital officer at DHS. Bailey noted how DHS is using data to determine the return on investment for different types of recruiting events.

“What we’re realizing from taking a look at the data is that there are specific places we can go and be successful,” added Smith. “We allow that data to drive our direction.”

Data can also help increase diversity in the Federal workforce. “What we found through the data was that the schools we traditionally partnered with [for internships] didn’t have the demographics we needed,” said Ardrey. She said partnering with new institutions led to a diverse class of interns that met NGA’s goals.

David Schlendorf, assistant director of human resources at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), noted that the bureau teamed up with LinkedIn to test different wording in job descriptions to attract more female candidates, as part of a larger effort to find more diverse candidates.

“Our managers are kind of held accountable for targets across the nation,” he said. “You put the targets up there and no one wants to be read and have the director see you’re the 56th worst office on female recruiting.”

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