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Recruitment and selection in public service

Agata Austen-Tynda, PhD Chair in Public Management University of Economics in Katowice


Precursors to Successful Recruitment and Selection The civil service staffing process (recruitment and selection) Public service motivation Trends in recruitment and selection Best practices in improving recruitment selection process


Recruitment can be defined as: all activities directed towards locating potential employees the attraction of applications from suitable applicants. The aim of recruitment is to get the best person suited to the job based on objective criteria for a particular job

Why is recruitment and selection so important?

Reversing the Erosion of the Public Service Ethic Personnel has long been perceived (and even defined) in terms of control, rather than service to the broader organization Civic Culture and Tradition Sound recruitment and selection practices also depend on complementary HRM systems

Why is recruitment and selection so important?

Costs of mistakes: engaging incompetent, underqualified, unmotivated employees; employing another person requires repeating the process and generates costs

Element of PR strategy

Rules of recrutiment and selection

Commonality Openess Competitiveness Legality Non-discrimination Constancy of criteria Neutrality Objectivism Transparency Personal data security Acting without delay

The civil service staffing process

Planning and approval for staffing Position announcement Selection of recruitment strategies Selection of tests Selection

Screen, interview, and checks (reference and other)

Final selection / Negotiate and hire Postselection considerations

Employer recruitment
Elements influencing effectiveness of recruitment: The breadth and quality of the process The size of the labour pool and the location of jobs Offered pay and benefits Job quality and requirements of the position Organizational image

Applicants perspective
Avoiding cold, unthoughtful and dilatory treatment: Timing to minimize anxiety Feedback to optimize scarce job search resources Information that makes distinctions Enthusiastic, informative, and credible representatives

Planning and approval

1. Taking review of the need for the position to take into account the following: strategic and operational plans for the organization funding current staffing structure targets for diverse staffing profiles across all levels; current staffing and skill levels; anticipations in terms of new positions, restructured positions, eliminated positions how the needs for the position might best be met

Planning and approval


Labour market survey: trends in terms of availability, salaries, education levels


Position announcement

Title and agency affiliation Salary range Description of duties and responsibilities Minimum qualifications Special conditions Application procedures Equal opportunity employment Classification Career potential Special benefits Time and place of applications



Technical skills knowledge and abilities connected with particular job position policy development and analysis, improved systems for monitoring and evaluation and systems to improve financial management; planning, budgeting reporting. Other criteria: Diversity and broad representation of minority and protected class PSM

Manager Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (516394)

Applications Close: Friday, 12 September 2008. Salary: $76,007 per annum. Community and Health Services (Public Sector) Award, Administrative and Clerical Stream Level 10. Permanent full-time day work. Location: Hobart. Enquiries to Sharon Trueman, Department of Health and Human Services, phone (03) 6233 3761, email sharon.trueman@dhhs.tas.gov.au. You are encouraged to apply online (below) or forward your hard copy application quoting the vacancy number to: Recruitment Services, Human Resources, Department of Health and Human Services, GPO Box 125, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001.

Duties: Manage the operations of the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services function including provision of high level coordination, information and advice services to the Department and to the Minister including the timely preparation and provision of high quality correspondence, briefings, speeches and other documents for and on behalf of the Minister.

Desirable Requirements: High level analytical, conceptual, strategic, research and creative skills and the ability to understand the political, social and organisational environment in the context of the health and human services sector; identify relevant issues and priorities and make sound judgements high level interpersonal skills including written and oral communication skills, negotiation and conflict resolution skills; the ability to develop, manage and maintain collaborative stakeholder and client networks; and to work collaboratively with senior executives and peers to achieve common goals and objectives.


Who should work in public service?

Public service motives Rational



Participation in the process of policy formulation Commitment to a public program because of personal identification Advocacy for special or private interest A desire to serve public interest Loyalty to duty and to government as a whole Social equity Commitment to a program from a genuine convinction about its social importance Patriotism of benevolence

Public service motivation


3. 4. 5. 6.

attraction to policymaking commitment to the public interest social justice civic duty compassion self-sacrifice


Analysis: Candidates

Who is the ideal candidate for the agency? What has attracted qualified candidates to the agency? How did those qualified candidates learn about openings? Why is the pool of qualified candidates shrinking? What is the value system of the new generation and how can the agency package itself to show potential candidates that the agency has what they desire?


Recruitment strategies
Job posting Electronic posting Personal contact recruitment Recruitment by mail Head-hunting Noncompetive recruitment Develop a recruiting DVD


Recruitment strategies:


University/college/ high school communications, art and computer science programs

Student Interns

Other city departments or agencies to advertise

Professional production companies and advertising agencies


Analysis: recruitment strategies

What has worked or not worked in terms of recruitment strategies and advertising in the past? Are signing bonuses or other incentives important? How can current employees be ambassadors for the agency and help recruit qualified candidates? What recruitment materials does the agency already have and how current are they? Does the agency have a recruitment website and how many hits is it generating? Has the agency used paid advertisement in the past and, if so, what value did it ad to the recruitment process? What strategies is the agency using to attract the interest of grade school up to high school students?


Selection criteria

Electoral popularity policy-making jobs Patronage designating officials or employees without a requirement for a formalized application process Merit based-system using processes that analyze job competencies and require open applicaton procedures Seniority internal candidates; provides sense loyalty Representativeness minorities should get positions in areas of underrepresentation


Selection criteria

Selection criteria should be expressed in terms of: Essential requirements that are critical to successful performance in the position without which a person could not be appointed; and Desirable requirements that would enable the person to perform at a higher level in the position, but without which the person could still be appointed. The total number of essential and desirable criteria shall not exceed 10.


Selection criteria

Selection criteria shall: be written in simple and clear language; be specific and not overlapping or repetitive; be based on the real requirements of the position; not be excessive in number (i.e. not more than 10 in total) not discriminate unlawfully either directly or indirectly against applicants not favour either internal or external applicants; and be consistent with the classification standards of the position.


Retention Survey found that nationally small agencies took an average of 6.84 weeks to conduct the screening processes, while large agencies took an average of 11.51 weeks (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Hiring and Keeping Police Officers) GOAL: reduce this time so that valuable candidates are still available


Discriminating among the qualified and the unqualified Identifying most highly qualified candidates

Screening particular candidates; results in offering position to the best candidate Confirming the qualifications and ability of the chosen candidate; it may include the first period of employment 27

Principles of the screening

A fair set of screening criteria The criteria must be in line with the job content and appointment as well as advertised requirements Applicants should be clear on the criteria that apply The criteria should apply to all applicants in a consistent manner Any waivers should be fully motivated and approved Declarations should be made of whether any candidate is related to or friends of an official in the component where the vacancy exists The various activities of the screening process should be documented and put on record


Initial reviewing and testing

Education and experience evaluations Letters of recommendation Self-assessment General aptitude and trait test Performance test for specific jobs


Reducing the pool: interview

1. Plan how it should proceed: persons, place, roles 2. Prepare list of written questions asked of all candidates 3. Use a work sample as part of the process Critique or evaluate sth Solve a problem Deliver oral presentation, etc 4. Explain basic facts about the position 5. Use the job description and advertisement guides to ensure that the focus is on essential job functions

Reducing the pool: interview

6. Set up interviews in private job-settings where distractions are unlikely 7. Concentrate on listening to applicants answers and take notes during the interview 8. Be careful that no oral commitments or suggestions about employment prospects are made 9. Complete your evaluation notes when impressions are fresh

Reducing the pool: interview

Subjects to Avoid
Marital status Children and other dependants Religion Politics Ethnic origins


Final selection
1. Keep a list of all applicants considered for final selection. 2.Identify fair selection criteria for the final selection phase. 3.Ensure that the criteria are in line with the advertised requirements as well as the job content. 4. Ensure that each selection committee member is provided with all the relevant information pertaining to each short-listed applicant.


Final selection
5. Ensure that the interviews are conducted in a fair and effective manner and that each candidate is weighed comprehensively against the requirements as advertised. 6. Ensure that a comprehensive motivation is compiled in respect of all the applicants interviewed. 7. Ensure that all applicants are informed about the outcome of the final selection phase. 8. Ensure that all relevant information is put on record.


Closing selection
Closing selection
1. Phone call and further clarification 2. Letter of intent 3. Completing employment forms 4. Protocols may be available for intetested individuals 5. Number of candidates 6. Names, surenames and adresses of 5 top candidates 7. Recruitment and selection criteria 8. Justification of the decision

Trends in recruitment and selection

Procedural Changes: Eliminating arbitrary rules and regulations that restrict the choices of hiring managers and supervisors Adopting flexible and appealing hiring procedures. Screening applicants quickly Validating entry requirements and examinations. Instituting worker-friendly personnel policies, Creating more flexible job descriptions.


Trends in recruitment and selection

Improvements to the Recruitment and Selection Process: The decentralization movement "New Public Management" is known in many quarters as devolution, often characterized by the decentralization of HR responsibility. Aggressive outreach efforts Current employees as recruiters


Trends in recruitment and selection

Use of Technology: Many scholars believe that technology will be the most notable HRM trend of the next few decades Many large public organizations use computer bulletin boards and electronic mail to improve recruitment process Managers can have online access to applicants' test scores, qualifications and contact information Software programs: to administer online examinations, track applicants, match resumes with skill sets, expedite background checks, and shepherd job candidates through a paperless staffing process

Best practices

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Problem: A review of the hiring practices found that job announcements were filled with jargon, lots of facts and information, and extensive list of job duties which made it difficult to identify major features and selling points of the job. Recruitment was passive NNSA waited for applicants to apply.

Makeover: A new look to convey the importance and excitement of their positions, as well as why they were a great place to work Added photos to depict the unique work environment at NNSA. Implemented an internet-based targeted recruitment strategy to identify potential candidates from job boards and other locations They sent recruiters to fifteen universities in the South and West to recruit interns with an emphasis on diversity The results produced 28 qualified candidates, up from three unqualified candidates in the previous recruitment process + 30 highly qualified interns


Best practices
U.S. Department of Education Problem: The hiring process took too long and did not always deliver qualified candidates. Upon mapping out the hiring process, it was discovered that there were discrete steps with over 45 handoffs between different managers, administrative officers and HR specialists. Managers were disengaged from the hiring process. Job descriptions were problematic. When managers could not find good candidates they had a tendency to sit on the list, until ultimately it was re-posted.

Makeover: The hiring process was streamlined by eliminating redundancies and unnecessary steps resulting in a reduction of more than half of the stepsdown to 53. The automated process for assessing applicants has been overhauled and questions are more closely aligned with skills needed to be successful on the job. The process of change has not been easy and has taken a commitment of time and effort on the part of leaders, HR, managers and others involved in the hiring process.


Best practices

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Problem: Federal law changed requiring the agency to add 500 new positions. The length of time to complete the hiring process was long and the quality of candidates was lacking. The automated staffing system in place was believed to be inadequate to meet the demands of the hiring needs. The agency wanted top talent and a faster process.

Makeover: The agency started with an end-to-end mapping of the hiring process and identified both short and long term fixes. They used focus groups to document the process, identify roles and responsibilities, and assess obstacles. Through the process the agency eventually reduced the number of steps in the hiring process by more than twenty percent. Other key things they did included better marketing positions using visually appealing, plain-English announcements, proactively targeting qualified candidates via internet, resume databases and built tools to effectively screen applicants to ensure they were a good fit for the position. They eventually assigned responsibility for the process to one person at the executive level.

10 golden rules of recruitment and selection

1.Develop a Recruitment Plan 2.Conduct Research 3.Personalize the Recruitment Process 4.Select and Train the Right People as Recruiters 5.Build Strong Partnerships 6.Develop an Employee Referral Program 7.Improve the Selection Process 8.Develop an Advertising Plan 9.Develop an Internet Presence 10.Employ Effective Recruitment Strategies

Agata Austen-Tynda, PhD Chair in Public Management University of Economics in Katowice aausten@ekonom.ae.katowice.pl