Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

5 Tips for Hiring the Next Generation of Feds

ARCHIVES
Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

You’ve likely seen articles and anecdotes about the upcoming retirement wave, in which a large portion of federal employees will retire in the next several years, possibly creating significant leadership and staffing gaps. While there is considerable debate about when and at what velocity the wave will hit, one thing is for certain: There will be many vacancies to fill, and the government needs to begin recruiting the next generation of employees, who will be very different from those who have come before them.

The millennials, defined as those workers born between 1980 and 2000, are flooding the national job market and represent 37 percent of the private sector workforce. But they represent only 18 percent of the federal workforce. The federal government cannot afford to ignore this group—not only because of upcoming hiring needs, but also because this cohort has the potential to bring significant digital innovations and service perspectives to agencies.

CEB research shows that to successfully recruit and retain millennials, agencies need to follow a different set of recruiting practices. The way millennials undertake job searches is unique to their generation, and there are some key steps organizations can take to stand out and influence this critical demographic:

1. Use social media—but don’t overestimate it. Unsurprisingly, millennials are more likely than any generation before them to use social media to learn about organizations. But they are skeptical of the information they receive there. CEB research shows that only about a third trust the information they receive through social channels. Regardless of generation, job seekers place the most trust in friends and family, so more traditional channels such as referral programs are still a critical recruiting strategy.

2. Don’t stop recruiting once you get a resume. Although millennials participate in the same number of job interviews as candidates from other generations, they receive 12.5 percent more offers. So the competition doesn’t stop after you get an application. The candidate’s experience is more critical than ever when recruiting this sought-after demographic. The atmosphere in the office during interviews, attitude of team members and timeliness of feedback during the selection process all make a difference.

3. Tell, don’t sell. Millennials spend less than half as much time as other generations learning about organizations before deciding whether to apply. To stand out, agencies should use employment brand messages that are consultative and not overly promotional. Explaining and connecting roles to mission and clearly comparing the organization to competitors, helps candidates determine whether or not they will be a good fit before they apply.

4. Emphasize personal development—but don’t neglect other areas. Millennials value career and individual development more than other generations. They want opportunities to learn quickly and make a difference from day one on the job. While their parents prized stability, the younger generation seeks new opportunities. Yet overall, the top two most important factors in attracting candidates to apply are the same across generations: compensation and work-life balance. These must not be overlooked.

5. Optimize your website for mobile. Millennials are more likely than other generations to use mobile devices to learn about employers. The number of people looking at jobs and prospective employers on their smartphones and tablets will continue to grow, but a striking two-thirds of companies have yet to optimize their websites for mobile devices.

As agencies prepare for the future, they cannot successfully plan without considering the demographics of the next generation of job seekers. By understanding what millennials look for in a job, how they go about finding them and how to tailor recruiting strategies to meet those expectations, today’s executives will be better positioned to hire the next generation of leaders.

Jean Martin is an executive director and Kris van Riper is a managing director at CEB, a member-based advisory company.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.