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How to Hire: 5 tips for public service recruitment

Nikoletta Bika
Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta holds an MSc in HR management and has written extensively about all things HR and recruiting.

How to Hire: 5 tips for public service recruitment

Public service recruitment teams may struggle to attract talent (especially millennials); when was the last time you heard a child say their dream job was in government? The public, and generally non-profit, sector isn’t exactly included in lists of ‘cool’ places to work. That adds to the challenge of hiring in an industry that’s regimented and budget-constrained to begin with.

So how do you attract all these talented people out there, and choose the best among them? Here are tips for public sector hiring:

5 tips for public service recruitment

1. Write attractive job ads

Many candidates see the public sector as dull and bureaucratic, and it doesn’t help to have overly formal language in your job ads. You can liven up your announcements and be direct, personable and appropriately enthusiastic with your details without straying too far from guidelines on tone and style. For instance, communicate yourself as mission-driven or working on “real” challenges to engage candidates.

2. Use niche sites for job posting

For public sector recruitment, governmental job boards are the norm. But, consider advertising in niche job sites, too, depending on the role you’re hiring for. For example, if you’re looking for developers, try Dice or Stack Overflow. If you’re looking for admin roles, try, and so on. Remember to ‘sell’ a job in the public sector in your job ads by emphasizing the positive impact on society.

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3. Invest in technology

The right recruiting platform can improve your administration’s efficiency, save costs down the line and make it easier for you to reach new generations of candidates who spend a lot of their time online – especially in social media. Choose platforms like Workable to find and engage talent, improve the application and evaluation process, increase the outreach of your job ads and even source via built-in tools.

4. Put your best foot forward

Whether it’s in online content (e.g. videos, blog posts), your careers page, or events, highlight what makes a job desirable. There are many people out there who value stable environments, increased job security, better work-life balance, and longer-term career benefits, as opposed to the unpredictable and volatile nature of dynamic startup environments. Your public service recruitment strategy should focus on appealing to people who’re more likely to be happy at a job in the public sector.

5. Evaluate candidates objectively

As laws oblige you to hire on merit and avoid any discrimination, you need to implement objective hiring methods. This especially applies to the public sector, where equal opportunity hiring is particularly enforced. This involves choosing the right interview questions, using structured interviews (e.g. with the help of interview scorecards) and well-crafted assessment tools (e.g. Criteria Corp, Saberr).

If you follow these tips, your hiring process can become much easier. Ensure you also provide candidates with positive candidate experience. And, take a look at our sample job descriptions to start your hiring with an informative and comprehensive job ad.

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