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A fresh look at recruitment

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital data and technology, People and Skills, Recruitment and Skills

As transformation in government continues, recruitment changes with it.

Female digital talent looking sideways

Digital skills are in high demand, but supply is low. In this post, I’ll describe the areas where we need to adapt our approach to solve the challenge of hiring experts in the digital sector.

I’ll also share how we’re making use of data, new technologies and platforms to give us a competitive edge and keep up with wider recruitment trends.  

The task

The UK government is working on some of the country’s largest and most exciting digital initiatives, geared at improving people’s lives. However, while this is a strong lure, we can’t assume that this is enough.

Our recruitment approach must evolve to better meet the expectations of the professionals we want to attract. We also need to change our processes to match the wider recruitment world. These changes will put us on the right course to achieve government’s ambitions.

What we’ve done so far

As part of the digital, data and technology profession team’s programme to build capability across government, we set up  a cross-governmental working group to develop effective attraction and recruitment practices. Working with many different departments, big and small, has enabled creative and collaborative discussions.

Areas of focus include:

  1. Best practice recruitment advice
  2. Workforce planning and forecasting
  3. Purposeful commercial relationships with suppliers on our frameworks

To address them, we are building a recruitment toolkit that will provide guidance and useful information, and enable departments to attract the best talent.

Feedback from colleagues across government has been very helpful. We've learnt that the experience level of digital recruitment in government varies across departments. For this reason, a tailored, multi-channel approach will achieve better outcomes.

Post-it note with "Applicant" written on it

Optimising our existing recruitment process

Traditional methods of recruitment don’t always satisfy our needs. Posting a job advert online and hoping that the right candidate will stumble across isn’t proactive or productive enough. We are learning to be more active and innovative to secure the best talent in the digital sector. Across government, we are in the process of tailoring our adverts to the individual skill or discipline we are looking for.

We need to increase our specialist recruitment capability internally, and be less reliant on generalists carrying out all parts of the process.

By doing this, we’ll be more effective as an organisation and the trickle-down effect will be optimal on-boarding and retention of talent. It will boost government’s reputation as a destination of choice for digital, data and technology professionals.

Putting data to better use

We get our data from multiple sources including hiring managers, our HR department, suppliers, commissioned works and market intelligence.

It’s important that data is used to better shape recruitment plans. It can be used to help inform our understanding demographics, working populations and geographies for examples.

New technologies and platforms

We’ve started work to make our processes quicker. This will both improve the candidate experience and make the hiring manager’s job more straightforward.

We’re reviewing contemporary methods and technologies. This includes social media aggregators and multi-channel attraction such as blogs, forums, events and any online tool which encourages professional referrals. It’s important that we harness technology to our advantage. The ultimate aim is that candidate and recruiter should be always be within easy reach of each other.

Aytan Hilton is cross-government non Senior Civil Service recruitment advisory lead, part of the Digital, Data and Technology profession team

For further information or if you’d like to get involved in our work please contact us.

Follow Digital Careers Gov on twitter  for the latest digital, data and technology career opportunities in UK government.

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