At IRS, online games aim to build candidate engagement

With the exception of a few ‘glamour’ agencies—EPA, Homeland Security, NIH–there aren’t many government organizations that inspire high public respect for what they do as well as widespread appeal as places to work. This makes the task of engaging the interest and enthusiasm of active job seekers, not to mention passive candidates, a critical first step in recruiting for agencies that may not loom large as “stars” in the public imagination.

Take the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). No one would claim that IRS is riding high on waves of widespread public empathy and admiration. Still, its mission calls on a range of vital—and arguably under-appreciated–skills. IRS management doesn’t miss the point here, and has set out to highlight the inherent appeal for a certain type of candidate in working for the IRS.

So, with support from TMP’s Government Solutions team, IRS [title] Frank Stipe is leading an online program calculated to inspire the enthusiasm of candidates with a knack for money management and a native curiosity about how dollars and cents figure in everyday life.

Two exciting tools in this IRS program clearly show their roots in the online gaming realm, a vital area of interest for the “millennials” that IRS will need to hire in years to come. The first is Managing your Money, a simulation game for college-aged players. In the game players are called on to make decisions based on financial, academic, and personal circumstances that affect their financial well being. You can sample the game here.

In a second gaming application, Follow the Money, the player portrays an IRS investigator charged with tracing the assets of a suspected tax-avoider. The trail leads through all the byways, legal and otherwise, that tax-avoiders customarily use to cover their tracks and befuddle investigators. Sample the game here.

The TMP team is also working on a social networking site for IRS. There participants will develop their own profiles, talk directly to recruiters, and connect with other users of the site, just like on mega social nets FaceBook and My Space.

Make no mistake: despite all the noise about the Feds’ recruiting woes, there’s a lot of inspiration, energy, and imagination in how the government human capital community is reaching out to engage candidates. And IRS is in the forefront.

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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