By David Majerowicz, Government Solutions Strategic Advisor
The current competitive job market is shining a brighter light on pain points that have existed within government hiring for years. Employers across every industry are competing for candidates. Record numbers of employees are leaving their jobs, and millions of roles remain unfilled. In a labor market that disproportionately benefits workers, employers need to be able to adapt to the everchanging market and find competitive new ways to attract talent.
But finding this competitive approach can be a tricky pivot for government agencies. A lack of flexibility in considering applicants, difficulty landing top candidates looking for private industry salaries and a slow hiring process have historically made it challenging for government agencies to source and retain talent. Past differentiators, like robust benefit offerings and job security, no longer rival the amount of money workers can potentially make in commercial industry.
In this new playing field, the rise of remote work brings a fresh challenge for government agencies looking to hire new talent. 83% of workers now prefer hybrid or flexible employment options, citing factors like better productivity and mental health. This means that government agencies’ traditional on-site work may be less appealing to candidates. In-office roles also limit a potential hiring pool to local candidates who may not have the expertise a job requires.
Working with a partner who provides workforce management solutions can alleviate many of these pain points. By providing access to a strong and expansive candidate pool and offering a consultative partnership rooted in deep knowledge of the government hiring process, managed solutions providers can ensure government agencies have access to the talent they need.
A government agency’s staff will only be as strong as its hiring pool. Building a network of talent is critical to ensure government agencies have access to a diverse range of candidates with the skill sets, certifications and clearances they need.
A successful solutions provider is proactive— rather than waiting for a job posting to open, they constantly seek to connect with qualified candidates. By establishing these relationships early, solutions providers can keep talent in their pipeline and immediately access a ready pool of candidates whenever a position becomes available.
However, that pool of talent can’t just be large. It must also be highly specialized. Solutions providers recruit both locally and nationally, which means they can source the exact expertise government agencies need. This makes it easier for agencies to access in-demand talent, like budget and finance analysts. It also helps ensure there is a ready supply of candidates who hold appropriate job qualifications and security clearances, which can be a major obstacle for employment.
There often isn’t much flexibility in the government hiring process. This makes individualized recruiting nearly impossible. Federal and state pay policies dictate what salaries a government agency can offer, limiting their ability to compete with commercial industry for talent. Many positions also include strict qualification requirements that can’t be changed.
Managed solutions providers who have a history of government partnerships understand the constraints hiring managers face. This allows them to work with these limitations instead of against them.
Solutions providers can offer multiple scalable options to help make the position more attractive and competitive to candidates. Using their knowledge of industry and market conditions, they can recommend small, feasible adjustments that have meaningful impacts on the position. These experts may suggest elevating the position level to ensure a pay increase or offering additional trainings and certifications to help an employee excel.
Nuances in the hiring process can vary state by state, with an entirely different set of rules at the federal level. With a nationwide salesforce, a solutions provider can match government agencies with staffing and solutions specialists who have experience with local processes.
One of the biggest differentiators in selecting a managed solutions provider is ensuring they have experience navigating the state and federal government hiring system. Knowledge of the bureaucratic constraints and red tape that accompany a candidate search means they know exactly how to find the right candidates and how to move them through the hiring process.
While helpful at every level, this is especially beneficial for state government agencies. Working with a local solutions partner means tapping into a network of curated talent. It also means the solutions provider understands the details of that specific state’s hiring process. This allows them to better ensure candidates have all their necessary documentation and clearance procedures in order, which can help expedite the hiring process.
Staying competitive in today’s job market is key. Having a trusted partner with years of industry and market knowledge can open the playing field to a wider selection of candidates and ensure government agencies have access to the specialized talent they need to meet their mission-critical objectives.
For more information about government hiring practices, see our article Navigating the Challenges in Government Contracting or reach out to Aston Carter.
As a government solutions strategic advisor with Aston Carter, Dave Majerowicz has more than 20 years of experience helping federal, state and local governments, and integrators navigate hiring challenges within the industry. He is a passionate champion of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and is currently helping grow Aston Carter’s internal Veteran, First Responder and Family Member Employee Resource Group. Prior to his time with Aston Carter, he served in the U.S. Air Force for 14 years, working as an aviation maintenance technician instructor and decorated recruiter helping place specialized personnel within the Air Force.