In part one, we briefly discussed how government agencies aren’t connecting with younger employee candidates and why they should. We also hinted at how the help of a staffing firm can assist with the issue. Today’s blog entry will continue this theme as more research stumbles in!

Increasingly, top employers are competing to attract top talent. Free gourmet food, massages, and time to pursue your individual passions are on offer at Google. Other eager spots offer classes, exercise groups, learning sabbaticals, and ultra-flexible work arrangements. But one very large and important employer seems to be heading in the opposite direction: the government. Rather than enticing the next generation of public servants, federal hiring policies and subpar working conditions dissuade new college grads from joining up. At the same time, they’re pushing experienced employees out.

Less than 6 percent of graduating college seniors say their ideal career is in the federal government; only 7 percent of federal employees are under 30 years old. That’s a third of the rate in 1975 and the lowest in eight years. Individuals interested in public service are looking elsewhere, to nonprofit groups, international organizations, or a new crop of socially motivated start-ups. And federal employee satisfaction dropped four years in a row, according to an Office of Personnel Management survey. The problems start at the very beginning: the job application. Candidates must wrangle the subpar website, the central federal hiring platform with a history of failures.

The process is ultra-standardized (here is a guide on “federalizing” your résumé), which means many top candidates are rejected right off the bat if they don’t fit neatly into the hiring procedures. Relying on specialized résumés and questionnaires (as the site does), the government misses out on evaluating candidates on their actual skills as many companies now do. And even qualified candidates can wait months to hear further about an opportunity.

The reliance on unpaid internship programs in many departments, which can serve as a gateway to employment limits employment pools to only the wealthiest candidates. And background checks sometimes arbitrarily disqualify potential talent for minor offenses, like marijuana use.

You can find out more about the recruiting and hiring process on our blog and email us here with additional questions.