The case for a “pushy” agency brand

In a post earlier this year, I commented on a survey of 30,000 American undergraduates sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service. Among other findings, the survey identified factors that appeared most attractive to graduates for their first jobs out of school.

The top three potential attractors are:

  • work/life balance
  • job security, and
  • the opportunity to serve a greater good.

As I’ve said before, all three attributes are (or should be) strong suits for federal recruiters, and the agency that doesn’t accommodate all three in its employer brand positioning is probably missing a bet. What selling point for government employment in general could be more compelling than the notion of serving the greater good–particularly in light of the surge in enthusiasm for public service inspired by last Fall’s election?

I’m not suggesting that you emphasize these three baseline attractors to the exclusion of your agency’s unique attributes—the particular challenges and satisfactions of your mission, the qualities that distinguish your workplace culture, your special programs for learning and advancement, and so on. Your recruiting proposition should draw on both government-wide and agency-specific selling points.

Even so, presenting your employment value proposition accurately and compellingly is just a start. You should consider a “push” strategy, which means propelling this authentic positioning outward into the talent marketplace, where it can work for you by engaging students who may be particularly inclined to favor your agency over others. Find the folks who find your values, culture, and mission compelling; if you handle the interaction right, you quickly find yourself in conversation with high-value prospects. .

So I’m suggesting two mutually supportive approaches here. First, make sure that your employer brand addresses the general strong points of federal employment as well as your agency-unique attributes. Second, consider “push” techniques like advertising, sponsorships, online search approaches, and even direct e-mail campaigns. In a nutshell, place your employer brand where it can attract the most attention from the most desirable and most motivated candidates.

Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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