If Obama says don’t discriminate against the unemployed, it seems logical to update federal hiring practices to make sure that practices follow policy. A recent report from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) showed that the federal government needs better hiring practices if it wants to attract the best applicants.


Federal hiring managers typically rely on tallying up years of experience and the number of training classes an individual has taken. The issue is this antiquated approach fails to assess a candidate’s capabilities. After making candidates jump through all of the federal hoops, (books have been written on how to navigate the system) hiring managers should have a better way of making sure the best are selected. Unfortunately, it’s too often about checking the boxes and meeting criteria instead of hiring the right person for the job.


Getting the right person for the job starts with the right job description and the right questions when screening candidates. Hiring managers may still collect resumes, but times are changing and the steps in the screening process should be updated and individualized for the job. Education and years of experience aren’t the first thing to look for anymore. Hiring managers now want to see skills and certifications up front on a resume.

One helpful tool noted by the MTSB is an occupational questionnaire that requires candidates to rate their experience. But it has to be specific to the job in order to be successful. General employment questionnaires will simply weed out the best talent – who will be annoyed by being asked basic questions.

It can also be helpful to verify what a candidate is selling early on in the hiring process. Waiting to the end of the hiring process to validate a candidate’s experience wastes everyone’s time.

Filling open positions with critical thinkers starts in the interview process. Hiring managers should assess both a candidate’s skills, and their critical thinking abilities. If hiring managers want to compete for top talent such as cybersecurity professionals, they’ll need their hiring practices to be as dynamic as the career field itself.



How long does it take you to scan a resume and pick out top talent? Probably five seconds. New Cleared Network profiles make it even easier. It’s like an infographic picture of a cleared job seeker, from visual clues to tell security clearances and levels, to listing top skills, personality traits and other critical features – it’s all there. Make sure you’re building your network with talent that catches your eye, and make sure your recruiter profile sends the same positive message to job seekers.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.