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Three tips for improving recruitment

by Darcy Michaud
in Human Resources

Ageing workforce and looming retirements feed demand for modern approach to recruitment

Municipal employers are falling behind private sector organizations in the recruitment of young, educated, and talented prospects. And, with the ageing workforce, employers are literally dependent on younger workers, knowing a large segment of their professional workforce is moving into their retirement years. So, the urgency exists for all employers, including municipalities.

But what are municipal employers doing about it? Does your municipality’s HR department have a strategy to identify and recruit young talent? While some municipalities have effective campaigns to recruit the next wave of municipal employees, unfortunately, most do not. The recruitment strategy (typically a job posting) is often generic and not specific to any one segment or demographic of worker. Again, this is yet another area where the private sector is pulling away.

There are three areas where municipal employers can benefit from the lead of the private sector.

Digital Connections book cover

1. In-Person Recruiting

Don’t ignore the value of in-person and programmed recruiting at the physical college and university campuses. There is so much more you can do than simply setting up a booth at a career fair. Post-secondary institutions and their career teams are literally begging organizations to develop a marketing and recruitment strategy that is specific to the sector and the organization. It will literally take five minutes on the phone with many of these post-secondary institutions to realize how many programs and options they have to get you in front of their students.

Further to that point, offer students the opportunity to hear from emerging and successful municipal employees. Municipal speakers can provide an overview of their experiences and educate prospective employees about the rewards and pride that comes with working for your community. Student ambassadors are another terrific idea – whether it be a summer student that worked for your organization or a new successful employee out of school. Students speaking to students about the benefits and career opportunities that working for a municipality can offer is not something that should be overlooked.

2. Be the “Early Worm”

Don’t wait for the best talent to be picked over. Most employers try to identify and recruit talent that is ready to enter the workforce. Even post-secondary career fairs cater to students who are near graduation. But private sector employers are aggressive and savvy. They are the proverbial “early worm.”

Municipal employers would benefit from connecting with students at the high school level and the early years of post-secondary school. At this point in their studies, they have not necessarily committed to a specific program. Building early awareness of municipal government as a possible career could have a direct impact on the program and courses they choose. Relationships built over time allow employers to help students better understand and prepare for a career in the municipal sector and even provide an opportunity for mentorship. And let us not forget, this also provides you with an opportunity to identify the talent before the private sector companies do.

3. Broaden your Horizons

Broaden your focus. According to the Public Policy Forum, public sector employers and recruiters tend to focus their recruiting efforts on students that are working through or have completed a degree in arts or social science. Anyone who works in a municipality knows that the diversity of services offered to the public requires a range of expertise. Recruitment efforts should include other faculties such as engineering, business, human resources, science, etc. Different academic backgrounds and skill sets provide for diversity and inclusion.

Evolving Expectations

The younger generation of employees have greater expectations. They are not the job seekers that my generation or the generations before me were. They are looking for engagement. They want an employer that can recognize them and take the time to connect and learn about their aspirations – not simply what you want from them. They want to know about your core values, purpose, and mission and how they align with your organization.

Really, this younger generation of worker has evolved. The question is, have you?  MW

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Darcy Michaud has been practicing HR for 20 years, several of those serving as the Director of HR for the County of Huron. Michaud successfully started his own HR consulting firm, HRprimed.

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