This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

Further Improving the Federal Government’s Ability to Attract and Retain the Best Talent

Today we're releasing guidance to institutionalize proven and effective practices to tackle the most common barriers agencies face in the Federal hiring process.

The Administration is committed to fostering a culture of excellence and attracting, hiring, and retaining a talented, highly-skilled Federal workforce that represents the rich diversity of the people it serves. And throughout this Administration, we’ve made progress streamlining and improving the Federal hiring process.

In 2010, the President directed the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and other agencies to take concrete actions aimed at making it easier for individuals to apply for Federal jobs and to improve the quality and speed of agency hiring. Since then, OPM has issued guidance in support of this request and made significant improvements to, including making it more user-friendly, easier to search, and providing an overall improved look and feel.  And in 2015, OPM and OMB established a Hiring Excellence Campaign to provide supervisors and human resources (HR) staff from over 27 agencies in 22 cities across the nation with the training, tools, and online resources they need to better connect with the nation’s top talent.

While we have made important strides, more work remains. Too often, implementation challenges and myths related to the hiring process get in the way of bringing in top talent, advancing skilled employees and providing the best customer service. 

To help address these challenges, and institutionalize our progress, today we are releasing guidance that encourages the adoption of practical and proven solutions to tackle the most common barriers agencies continue to face in the Federal hiring process. 

The guidance released today has three key objectives:

  1. Strengthen collaboration between supervisors, hiring managers and HR specialists and clarify their roles and responsibilities; 
  2. Improve workforce planning and strategic recruitment to reach a well-qualified and diverse applicant pool; and
  3. Improve assessment strategies to attract and retain the best talent.

To help agencies achieve these objectives, the guidance also identifies seven practical and proven best practices for agency adoption:

  1. Supervisors and hiring managers should be actively involved together in every appropriate step of the hiring process.
  2. HR specialists should have the expertise to meet the needs of their customers and should consult and advise supervisors and hiring managers through the process.
  3. Data should be used to inform workforce planning and strategic recruitment, and relevant hiring authorities should be fully leveraged, consistent with authorizing authorities.
  4. Agencies should conduct outreach efforts to diverse communities to create applicant pools from all segments of society.
  5. Job opportunity announcements should be clear, concise, and captivating.
  6. Subject matter experts should help HR teams assess applicant qualifications.
  7. Agencies should use effective assessment tools to evaluate job applicants

These objectives, and the proven practices identified to help achieve them, will enable agencies to attract highly qualified and diverse talent through engaged and empowered hiring managers, while also offering agencies the flexibility to tailor a selection of these proven practices to best fit and address their individual needs and challenges. Further, the guidance released today is modeled after the joint employee engagement memo OPM and OMB issued in 2014, which has supported agency efforts that contributed to the rise of employee engagement and satisfaction over the past two years. 

Improving the Federal Government’s ability to attract and hire the best talent is fundamental to achieving our many missions.  The guidance released today takes us one step further in our efforts to continue to recruit, hire and develop the world-class Federal workforce the American people deserve.

Beth Cobert is the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Andrew Mayock is Senior Advisor at the Office of Management and Budget.