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Job Seekers Continue to Value Face-to-Face Interaction

Job Seekers Continue to Value Face-to-Face Interaction

Emily Long | Government Executive

Federal agencies are catching on to the social media craze and leveraging that technology to attract job seekers, especially young recruits. For example, the Labor Department advertises open positions on Twitter and plans to upload its recruitment videos to YouTube. The State Department regularly updates its Facebook page and maintains the @DOSCareers Twitter account. But conventional wisdom, which holds that recent college graduates and tech-savvy young professionals respond favorably to anything on the Internet, doesn’t always apply when it comes to federal recruiting.

Recruiting “can’t simply be about information dissemination rather than a real engagement, dialogue, discussion with potential applicants,” says Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach at the Partnership for Public Service. “One of the best mechanisms is to use those who have walked in the shoes. People want to see where people like them fit in.”

Recognizing the need to target the next generation of federal workers on a more personal level, the Partnership and the Office of Personnel Management have teamed up on Call to Serve, a program that brings federal career days to college campuses.

Government recruiters travel to schools and interact with students at career fairs and give presentations on navigating vacancy announcements on USAJobs. OPM also oversees several initiatives that offer students a taste of government service, including the Student Temporary Employment and the Student Career Experience programs and the Presidential Management Fellows program. PMF targets graduate students and commits to converting them to full-time positions after two years of service. Following a competitive application and testing process, program finalists are invited to meet agency representatives at a hiring fair.

Students prefer to interact with employers at career fairs, says McManus, in part because they use Web sites to determine which opportunities are available and then expect to speak to someone directly about specific job responsibilities and benefits, especially if that person has held a similar position.

“I enjoyed sitting down and talking to people more because it gives me an idea of what they are looking for rather than what they put up online,” says Annie Medaglia, a presidential management fellow and State employee. “It also gives you a better idea of who works in that office and what the day-to-day process is like.”

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