“People talk about innovation like it is this tangible thing – the only thing that can innovate is a human brain.” – Jeri Buchholz

Through a conference with the Federal News Network, former Chief Human Capital Officer at NASA discussed new approaches to federal human capital. Jeri Buchholz currently serves as a Strategic Advisor at Acendre. She strengthened the notion that there are major issues that federal agencies will have in the talent hunt. “The federal government is overdue for a re-tool to help them manage workloads,” she stated. With better assessments to identify mission matched candidates instead of waiting until skillsets are antiqued, cleared hiring efforts could be impacted in a positive way.


Through the coronavirus pandemic, the federal workforce had 10 years of evolution packed into migrating to a virtual work model in one year. The government (and industry for that matter), should continue to capitalize on the tech that has assisted in hiring moving forward.

While AI in recruiting can help to manage a large volume of candidates, Jeri notes that AI should assist human capital specialists instead of replacing them altogether. For example, your applicant collecting system could include personal self-assessment with applicant scoring on separate skillsets along with AI – this will tell you if there are wide discrepancies and whether that resume needs human eyeballs.


However, Jeri finds that one of the best ways to increase efficiency within your recruiting processes is better managing time between the different stakeholders (the candidate, the recruiter, the hiring manager, the FSO, etc.). Recruiters should be creating intelligent workflows that makes handoffs operate smoothly – which are the biggest time addition to the process.

Strict defense contractors or government agency recruiters may be wary of this approach: ‘We have rules and regulations’ or ‘There are laid out steps we must follow to a tee.’ Jeri encourages that the discretion agencies really have in optimizing their hiring workflows are within the handoffs. Agency rules and regulations really pertain to steps in the process (you must open vacancy, have specific job content, have it open for a certain time period, etc.). None of that is workflow where you establish handoffs, time windows to complete tasks or automate certain processes like communication.

Recruiting teams within government can certainly get comfortable with automation but still adhere to their legal guidelines.

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 7+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸