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Hiring Excellence at the Department of Homeland Security

Benchmarking best practices, educating and bolstering the skills of human resources (HR) professionals, raising awareness of the full range of hiring authorities and flexibilities, promoting workforce diversity, engaging and empowering hiring managers, and encouraging collaboration between hiring managers and HR are just a few of the building blocks the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to institutionalize hiring excellence in attracting, recruiting and retaining the best people.

In 2016, the Office of Management and Budget and the U. S. Office of Personnel Management released guidance Institutionalizing Hiring Excellence to Achieve Mission Outcomes on how to infuse the federal workforce with new talent.  The guidance highlights three objectives and identifies seven corresponding proven strategies to help broaden federal recruitment:

  1. Strengthen collaboration between supervisors, hiring managers, and human resources specialists and clarify their roles and responsibilities;
  2. Improve workforce planning and strategic recruitment, by better use of data, diversity outreach efforts and clear, concise and captivating job announcements; and
  3. Upgrade recruitment (i.e., assessment) strategies to attract, evaluate, and retain the best talent.

The seven strategies outlined in the memo to implement these objectives are:   

  1. Supervisors and hiring managers should be actively involved together in every appropriate step of the hiring process.
  2. HR specialists should have the expertise to meet the needs of their customers and should consult and advise supervisors and hiring managers throughout the process.
  3. Data should be used to inform workforce planning and strategic recruitment, and relevant hiring authorities should be fully leveraged, consistent with authorizing authorities.
  4. Agencies should conduct outreach efforts to diverse communities to create applicant pools from all segments of society.
  5. Job opportunity announcements should be clear, concise, and captivating.
  6. Subject matter experts should help HR teams assess applicant qualifications.
  7. Agencies should use effective assessment tools to evaluate job applicants.

The DHS Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (OCHCO), in coordination with the Hiring Reform and Staffing Policy workgroup, composed of representatives from DHS Components, is leading the effort to effectively advise, support and integrate an efficient hiring process across the Department.  As part of this effort, the DHS OCHCO launched a Time-to-Hire initiative to focus on data collection for DHS mission critical occupations, which will improve oversight of the hiring process and collect more meaningful data so the Department is better positioned to describe, analyze, and report on the complexities of the DHS hiring process to internal and external stakeholders.

Learn more about the Hiring Excellence Campaign:

Last Published Date: December 28, 2020

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