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Obama on Improving the Hiring Process

In a recent White House memo, President Obama called upon the heads of executive departments and agencies to “recruit and hire highly qualified employees” comprised of the “most talented Americans.” He went on to say that the “inefficiency of today’s Federal hiring process deters many highly qualified individuals” from seeking and obtaining jobs in public service.

Obama touched upon a number of inefficiencies, as well as a set of procedures intended to remedy these inefficiencies. Many of these challenges and solutions apply to the nonprofit sector as well, such as (and with some paraphrasing and commentary added by Commongood Careers):

Make it easy for applicants to apply to your positions. For example, do not require applicants to complete essay-style questions in their initial application materials.

Screen a large number of applicants more efficiently. Create a set of screening criteria before reviewing any resumes, and then screen out unqualified applicants who do not meet the criteria.

Involve managers and supervisors in the hiring process. Include key internal stakeholders in planning position requirements, identifying required skills, and participating in the recruitment and interviewing process. Read our article on structuring roles in the hiring process for some great advice on this topic.

Make transitions easy for new hires. Design and implement a thoughtful and intentional on-boarding process. Read our article on on-boarding to learn some best practices.

Stick to a performance review schedule for new employees. Plan and schedule the first performance review for new employees within 6 months or a year of their start date.

None of this is rocket science, but all of this is important. Thank you, President Obama, for pointing out some best practices for the hiring process. We’re glad that you recognize the importance of every organization’s greatest asset: their people. With the right procedures for recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and managing staff, our organizations are better positioned to succeed.

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